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08/2 2010

What is “Talent Management” — Why Is It Important?

The term “Talent Management” (TM) is the latest iteration of the name of activities that are associated with identifying, managing, and developing the human capital of the organization.

In earlier times, such activities were regularly labeled as “Personnel” activities. In the 80’s, the term “Human Resources Management” was adopted to reflect the reality that the human capital of the organization was, in fact, a “resource” that required as much care and attention as the other resources possessed by the organization (such as capital, equipment, etc.). The term “Talent Management” is now used to describe the broad scope of business activities that are undertaken in this arena.

A recent survey by the Institute for Corporate Productivity found that the nine areas listed below were common TM activities that were being undertaken by organizations:

  • Leadership Development
  • Succession Planning
  • Career Planning
  • Performance Management
  • High Potential Programs
  • Learning and Training
  • Competency Management
  • Retention Strategies
  • Professional Development

In addition to the scope of the activities listed above, TM initiatives are also distinguished by the following:

  • Each of the above activities are viewed from a “systems” perspective – meaning that the activities above are inter-dependent with each other, and are linked in their design and application
  • TM initiatives are focused on the future — meaning that organization looks ahead to the business and staffing challenges it will face 3-5 years into the future, and will focus on developing the TM strategies needed to meet the hiring, training, and retention challenges of the future

It is important to note that successful organizations will not confine TM activities solely to the Human Resources Department – nor will they have these activities simply be the responsibility of Department Heads or teams of executives. Instead, both groups will contribute expertise to address talent management issues — Department Heads and executives will contribute insights into the business challenges and skill requirements needed in the future, while HR leaders and training professionals will be responsible for developing the strategies and methodologies to prepare employees to meet these challenges.

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