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Managing the Change in Talent

08 Sep 2011

How to implement talent management

As society moves towards a more individualistic attitude to both work and leisure, and workforces are increasingly diverse, it is clear that the talent management programmes developed today will have to be flexible and adapt to these new working conditions.

One way of visualising talent management today is CIPD’s talent pipeline (CIPD 2007) (2). The talent pipeline defines different elements of the talent management process, which all require attention.

"The Talent Pipeline", CIPD 2007

Attracting and recruiting
The key challenges are the shortages of talent at board, director, and middle management levels. Recruiting top talent is not easy, but the following points offer a reasonable checklist for successful attraction and recruitment:

  • Develop a strong clear brand and a good reputation
  • Communicate your vision for the future and have a plan to back it up
  • Develop an open and trust-based culture
  • Commit to first-class career development standards
  • Get your standards recognised, through IP for example, and promote your success
  • Demonstrate career progression success from all corners of the business
  • Exhibit a fun, yet professional side in recruitment strategies
  • Ask the existing team for talent recommendations
  • Let the top team talk externally about their positive work experiences

Deploying and developing
Unlike a standard appraisal, appraising talent does not focus on the present, but on the potential of employees 2-5 years ahead. When developing high potential individuals, five key factors are critical to success:

  • The ability to unlock potential
  • Developing fast-track systems to retain engagement
  • Developing emotional intelligence
  • Honing technical skills
  • Generating the ability to perform outside cultural comfort zones

Performance management and tracking
There are various approaches to performance management, but many organisations are now turning towards technology for online performance measurement and tracking systems. Technology, it seems, will play a critical role in the success or failure of talent management.

Success in attracting and rewarding top talent, particularly those seeking a greater work/life balance, will involve freedom and empowerment. The following trends are emerging:

  • Employees working from home, full-time or on specified days
  • Employees working to targets and not to the clock
  • Mobile working, when staff sometimes work away from the office
  • Support from the company for business and social networking on an international basis

Engagement and retention
One key issue of employee retention is the need to assess how international talent is managed, particularly when preparing employees for overseas assignments and managing the cultural and personal issues related to bring them home to re-integrate them into the business.

Common features with many HR initiatives are the lack of 'joined up thinking', and this is evident in the way talent is managed. Much coordination will therefore be required in building holistic strategies for HR, which can encompass talent management at the core.

Key issues in implementing talent management

When seeking to implement a talent management strategy, there are consequently five key questions an organisation should ask itself:

  • How is talent and talent management defined in the organisation?
  • How does the external environment impact on the talent management task?
  • What are the main challenges the organisation is facing in developing a talent pipeline, and how can it overcome them?
  • What tools can be used to identify the right talent and assess potential, employee engagement etc?
  • How is the success of the talent management process measured?


(1) Deloitte HR Survey, 2007

(2) CIPD, "Talent Management - Understanding the Dimensions", 2007



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