HR speak: Talent management

You may recall that talent management was all the rage during the boom years, as firms competed strenuously to hire the best and brightest recruits in the 'war for talent'.

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

According to the CIPD, talent management is 'the systematic attraction, identification, development, engagement, retention and deployment of individuals who are of particular value to an organisation'. Sounds important, doesn't it? No wonder savvy firms employ executives whose job is to manage not mere clay-footed mortals, but the very essence of talent itself.

Except that with the recession leading to redundancies across the board, such talent management professionals have also fallen on hard times. Lack of job vacancies last year meant that even the most confident job-hoppers were staying put, doubtless leading one or two bosses to wonder what their talent managers were actually for.

Well, the theory is that, as talent goes hand in hand with ambition, so employees who have the most potential to achieve great things in a business are also the ones who are most likely to leave if they see a more exciting opportunity elsewhere.

Only by speaking to these key employees, finding out their strengths and helping them get to where they want to go in their careers can their loyalty be secured and value-creation maximised. That is what talent managers do and it is of use even when bumping along the bottom of the business cycle. But now we are heading towards recovery, talent management is definitely on the up again.

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