Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Talent Management

Pop quiz. Is talent management about:

a) smarter recruitment,
b) succession planning, or
c) key talent development?

The answer is at the foot of this post.

Can you describe something as flavour of the month if it’s been around for ten years and is still popular? Talent management is one such fashion that has stood the test of time. I can claim this with confidence, having just completed a literature review from the War for Talent (McKinsey report dating from a study in 1997) to the Talent Management Pocketbook, published last year.

And it’s still popular because it makes sense. For the first time, it offers a strategic framework for co-ordinating a range of HR activities, including recruitment, coaching, teambuilding, leadership and management development, and much more besides. Indeed, it goes beyond the remit of HR, to include activities like corporate communications and reputation management.

One of the things I like about it is the positive spin it puts on people’s contribution to our organisations. We’ve had the sterile jargon of “human resources”, which somehow has stayed with us, along with other inhuman expressions like “human capital”. Now we can talk of “talent” (where I come from, in the West of Scotland, this has a slang connotation – talent is what you go looking for at the dancing – but thankfully that sense is unknown to most who use the term). Much better.

What has prompted these musings is that I’ve just written the Talent Management chapter for CIPD’s Learning and Development manual, a subscription-based product that may be found here.

And the answer to the pop quiz question is: all of them, of course.

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