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Article: Talent Management: Why Does It Matter? Related Resources

Talent Management: Why Does It Matter?
by Duncan Brodie

Pick up any publication or listen to podcasts related to human resource management and chances are you will come across something on talent management. You might be asking yourself, why do I need to worry about talent management? Well if you are a manager or leader, this is a vitally important area for a number of reasons:

• Failure to take it seriously will result in you losing your best people and you may have a real problem with retention generally

• Recruiting replacements for people who leave is expensive. It is not uncommon to be paying 25% of the first year salary in commission to recruitment consultants to find the right candidate. This is in addition to the salary cost. You also need to take into account the time cost of recruiting

• There is, in many sectors and professions, a real shortage of good quality candidates. In the accountancy press, it was claimed that 64% were experiencing difficulties in recruiting quality staff

• Candidates who come along for interview are more than likely going to want to see that you have given some thought to them and their progression, rather than just fill a post

• You may well find yourself in a position where you cannot attract staff. I spoke to someone recently who told me that in his team, 75% of the people were interim or temporary staff

• If you are finding it difficult to recruit people, those that are in post will be under significant pressure. This in turn can lead to increased sickness

So given these significant reasons, how can you start to make progress on talent management?

1. Develop a basic strategy

You do not need to have a 50 page manual but it is useful to document out your broad philosophy and approach to talent management and get buy-in to it. Human Resources can help with this but you need to take a very active role as a manager and leader so that whatever is developed is workable.

2. Make induction a priority

Over the years, I have seen many organisations that spend a lot of time and energy in the recruiting and selection phase then give little attention to induction. We all know what it is like to step into a new job. A well thought out induction plan can make all of the difference

3. Set objectives

While many organisations have their cycle for staff reviews, it is essential to make the time when someone joins to set objectives. In doing this, make sure it does not just cover results for the job but also includes initial personal development needs

4. Identify key posts in the business

In most organisations there will be a number of really key posts, where loss of someone could have a major impact. Establish what those posts are and the key skills, experience and attributes that are required.

5. Use staff reviews and appraisals to identify high performers

Well conducted appraisals produce real insights into how people are performing. Use these insights to identify those people that are performing well and demonstrating potential to go further.

6. Expose high performers to new challenges

This could be anything ranging from involvement in special projects, short term secondments or shadowing.

7. Take professional development seriously

No matter what potential is being shown, you need to develop it so that the talented individuals can make the step into more senior roles confidently and comfortably. This might be through attending skills development courses, for example, presentations or project management or it might be through coaching or mentoring.

Talent management is becoming increasingly important. As a manager and leader you need to be giving it appropriate priority.

Duncan Brodie may be contacted at

Duncan Brodie is a Leadership Development Coach and Management Trainer. Sign up for his free monthly newsletter at


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