Talent management strategies are stuck in the past

Nov 07 2003 by Brian Amble Print This Article

Talent management is emerging as a key business priority, but the strategies leading companies are adopting to manage their talented people remain fragmented and lacking in innovation, according to new research.

Three-quarters of companies have invested in dedicated resources to manage their talent, according to the survey of 20 leading UK companies by recruitment and HR consultancy Astralis Group and Lancaster University Management School, but these resources have yet to make a major impact in most companies.

The problem, the report says, is that talent management activity is typically delivered as a set of fragmented individual HR interventions rather than an integrated on-going process.

Fully half of the organisations surveyed did not know the current staff attrition rates amongst their defined top talent, while there is also little external benchmarking of standards against the very best in any chosen industry, sector or discipline.

To make matters worse, the definition of the “talent managed” within the organisation continues to be based upon the potential to advance step-by-step through a management hierarchy.

According to Mark Smith, Director of the Talent Management team at Astralis, the increasing focus on talent management is being undermined because it is delivered using the mindset and tools of the past.

"Traditional definitions of talent, flatter to deceive," he said, "ignoring really valuable people and potential, whose retention is critical to your customers and the future of your company."

Companies are also failing to identify and manage talent in other areas such as customer management or key specialists where their competitive value to the business can be significant.

This omission is made all the worse because the tools employed by companies to retain their top talent remain along the traditional lines of reward and personal development. The uses of newer more innovative tools such as in the area of work/life balance were not commonplace amongst the surveyed companies.

Mark Smith added “for those companies who have the foresight to take more innovative and imaginative approaches, they will have the opportunity to further their competitive advantage by creating a distinctive footprint in the talent market. For those who don’t, their future competitiveness will remain even more uncertain.”