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Talent management is crucial

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times," said Charles Dickens in the opening of his classic, A Tale of Two Cities. Dickens might well have been referring to today's corporations, which face a similar paradox with regard to talent management, retention and thus job creation.

In these somewhat worst of times, President Jacoh Zuma has called on corporations to contribute to economic growth, spread wealth and create jobs. "We cannot create these jobs alone," the President said, reading his state of the nation speech from an iPad. "We have to work with business, labour and community constituencies. Experience shows that we succeed when we work together."  

It is now known that the forefront of President Zuma's job-creation plan is a R9bn fund to help create jobs and a separate R20bn in tax breaks businesses to create jobs, a proposal welcomed by both labour unions and business owners. Improving the skills base would entail ongoing training for those who are already employed, developing further skills. 

The question is: How are we going to successfully respond to President Zuma's clarion call, particularly because one of the cornerstones of running a successful business and creating jobs also depends on being able to access skills, develop and retain talents? 

The answer lies in talent management. In uncertain economic times characterised by lay-offs, salary freezes, bonus losses, and escalating unemployment, while also at the height of a boom where talent can name their price, talent management is absolutely critical to help corporations perform at their peak while also creating more jobs. 

"Whether we have a recession or the economy is booming, talent management should be at the top of every CEO's list of priorities, If you can't keep your talent, you're not going to weather the storm, or in good times you're not going to be able to take advantage of the advantage you've got and help therefore in job creation. 

Talent management competency development, recruitment, staffing, development, retention and evaluation of talent has moved to the pinnacle of many organisations' objectives, along with generating revenue and managing costs, because they need the best talent to produce more jobs, with higher quality, at greater profitability. 

The best organisations link together the critical owners of talent management, senior leadership, human resources and line management to drive that improved performance. Failure to connect the various owners and activities of the talent management and development chain in either the best or worst of times call lead an organisation to inconsistent and haphazard performance. 

Focused and strategic organisations design competencies tap into the talent pool, engage senior leadership to shepherd the talent, use technology, and tie the critical aspects of talent management together to show consistent business performance improvement, growth and job creation. 

Although talent management takes a variety of forms based on the needs of the corporation, Aon Consulting Worldwide, a talent management company based in the United States, has identified the following approaches as successful:

  • Develop talent based on where the organisation is going. Evaluation of talent must be based on the business strategies of the organisation.
  • Make talent development an integral and measured part of each manager's job.
  • Make "people" discussions a regular part of business meetings.
  • Set and implement plans for achieving diversity goals. Innovation and improvement are fostered through a diverse workforce.
  • Establish a formalized process for talent development and assign specific staff to facilitate it.

However, it is not easy to use talent management as a building block for stability and future job prospects. 

Some firms use a process that screens and/or ranks employees to identify high potentials. 

This ranking process uses performance management tools, 360-degree review instruments, and routine management assessments of employees. 

Additionally some believe that employees who are not identified as having high potential become disenchanted and resentful of those who appear to be favoured by management. 

The New Age Article