The 13 dimensions of talent management

Demographic changes mean that talented workers are in increasingly short supply, while the cost of employing and retaining them is rising rapidly.

by Ashridge Consulting
Last Updated: 23 Jul 2013

Even though companies are taking the talent management (TM) more seriously than ever before, many do not have a clear strategy for recruiting, nurturing and - most crucially - retaining the best people.

After studying the TM practices of leading organisations, Ashridge Consulting has developed a framework of 13 dimensions of talent management, aimed at helping organisations better understand their current approaches and assess whether they need to change them to improve their competitive advantage in the future.

According to the report, there has been a dramatic shift away from a psychological contract that provided job security and a mutual employment relationship, towards one where individuals manage their own "employability" through development and career progression. This has "undoubtedly shifted the balance of power towards talented professionals".

It notes that research by Hewitt Associates found that 85% of the top 20 performing businesses in a group of 373 held their leaders accountable for developing top talent, compared to 46% of leaders from the other organisations.

The report challenges companies to consider their existing TM strategies by asking themselves three questions: 1) Do we know if our current TM practices are working well? 2) Can we afford to maintain the status quo? 3) Is there scope to improve TM and is the prize worth pursuing?

The 13 dimensions of talent management identified by Ashridge Consulting are: risk, transparency, culture, decision process, permanency of definition, size of talent pool, ease of entry, ownership of talent, connected conversations, development path, development focus, support and performance management.

Ina Smith, managing director of Ashridge Consulting, says: "Our research demonstrates that there is no ‘one size fits all' approach to talent management and practices must be kept continually under review. There are choices to be made, trade-offs to be taken into account and many strategic conversations to be held in devising a talent management strategy that will be appropriate to the culture of the organisation and enable the achievement of business objectives in the future."

Source: Ashridge Consulting
Review by Nick Loney

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