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What is talent management?

Global Expert Systems is preparing to host the First Caribbean & Latin American Conference on Talent Management in Barbados on September 25 and Trinidad on September 26 with a number of dynamic international speakers. Starting today, and continuing for the next few weeks we will publish a number of articles to build interest in the event. Following is the first instalment. Also on this page is a link that will allow you to download a registration form for the event.

by Global Expert Systems

Let’s define Talent Management

Talent Management takes on different meanings according to the industry or sector of which we speak. Most persons are familiar with the term, Talent Management, in the field of the arts and entertainment where the word “talent” is widely used in an obvious context. But can this term be applied to the world of business, and if so, what does it mean for the corporate sector?

It is said that the term Talent Management was coined in 1998 in an article published by David Watkins of Softscape; however the practice pre-dated the term, and was in existence since the 1970s. In a nutshell, talent management is really more akin to Corporate Strategy as it relates to the human capital of an organisation.

Let’s think of the talent manager as a grandmaster of chess in the organisation looking down at the board and deciding, strategically, what are the next moves or the best moves. And when we speak of the corporate sector we draw no distinction between the public and public sectors since they are so intricately interwoven within the Caribbean space.

Therefore, the management of our human capital, aka, talent management, is about hiring the right persons from the onset, placing them in the right positions, doing what is necessary to keep them, motivate them and retain them so that there is a mutually beneficial relationship that guarantees the growth of both the organisation and the worker.

As our organisations mature and become more sophisticated in an effort to compete globally, there are now specialised departments, companies and consultants who work around the clock to guarantee that the firms they represent are staffed by the correct personnel in every area of the organisation.

Just to have an idea, these consultants earn very decent salaries, due to the essential and valuable nature of their duties. Trusted human resources website revealed that, currently, the average salary for professionals within the area of talent management stands at US $86,000 per annum.

Hiring the right persons

Typically, as companies engage in talent management strategies, the responsibility of employees shifts from the human resources department to managers throughout the organisation. Now initially this is bound to create some “territorial warfare” as our traditional HR departments have grown to become the doyens of all things and matters of managing human capital and resource.

However, a more radical talent management approach calls for decentralisation from the HR department and this is where the real debate begins. Who is best poised to determine the needs of the organisation? Have our HR departments become too distant from the everyday realities and needs of our organisations? Is the best talent already residing within the organisation? What are the hindrances to moving talent around? How do we hire the right persons, or more importantly, who are these right persons?

Is talent management the same as headhunting?

The answer to this question is no! Headhunting is only a part of the talent management process. There are many consulting models or frameworks within which a talent management system can be thought of and implemented. However, most models will include some semblance of the below figure.

Figure 1. Talent Management process

Attracting and retaining the most profitable and valuable employees on the market is extremely competitive and firms often try to out-bid each other to attract the brightest, best and most effective staff for available posts. So there are both in-house talent management strategies as well as those companies who prefer to outsource their talent management to third parties.

Nonetheless, whether we choose to outsource this function or not, before the hiring process commences, it is critical that this is preceded by a planning phase, as suggested in the figure above. After hiring, we then need to continually develop our talent in order to retain it aligned to our corporate strategy.

In closing, it is clearly evident that talent management is a useful strategy during times of economic recession and hardship. Unfortunately, many companies only employ these strategies during times of plenty. But as organisations seek to become more lean and more efficient, hiring and retaining the right employees will become a pivotal function of corporate strategy.

Companies should therefore engage in a talent management system that suits their organisational needs, as this assists greatly in optimising the performance of each employee and in the long run, the company in general.

Next week we will look at topic, Can we implement talent management in our Public Sector?”

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