Talent Management is an overarching term used to describe an organisation's commitment to fostering as well as maximising the potential and performance of their workforce.


Talent Management serves to enable organisations by providing identification, developmental and retention-based framework to apply to individual employees who are considered of value to that organisation. Performed well, Talent Management offers companies a strategic toolkit for attracting, nurturing and deploying talented individuals that is ideally also measurable.


A robust Talent Management strategy customised to meet the needs of an organisation can offer a competitive advantage in the form of the following:

  • Provides a focus for investment in human capital
  • Building a high-performance workplace
  • Encouraging a learning organisation
  • Adding weight to the 'employee value proposition' and company brand
  • Contributing to diversity management

Features of Talent Management

Talent management strategies are implemented in organisations to ultimately develop a workplace that discovers, retains and supports the best possible talent available.

Strategic Alignment

Talent Management is a business strategy. In order to be fully functional, it must be integrated within all employee-related company processes.

Ensuring that the talent strategy has close alignment with the corporate strategy must be a priority. Strategic business analysis should be forecasted and the information translated into an HR context, which in turn can help shape an organisation’s bespoke approach to talent management.

The quest to meet business needs, including identifying key or specialist skill requirements, is best undertaken with a workforce planning approach.

Employee Life Cycle Focus

Many work processes and systems are at play within a Talent Management environment.

Along with Workforce Planning it is pertinent to consider the employee life-cycle – attraction, performance and development, and retention – within a Talent Management context.

  • Workforce Planning
  • Attraction
  • Performance & Development
  • Retention

Talent Attraction

The ability to attract external talent depends upon the following:

  • The types of positions on offer within the marketplace and how these are perceived
  • How potential applicants view the organisation, the industry, sector or environment in which it operates
  • Whether they share the values of that organisation

The creation of an attractive employer brand is therefore an important factor in recruiting external talent.

Talent Development

Talent development should have direct alignment to other learning and development programs and initiatives, both formal as well as informal learning activities, on the job or away from the workplace. These may include attending training courses, seminars or business functions, coaching, mentoring, networking as well as meeting senior people or specialists within the organisation or beyond.

Talent Retention

Investment in leadership development will have a positive impact on talent retention. The process of Succession Planning in particular helps many organisations in identifying and preparing individuals to potentially fill key leadership and other critical positions in the future.

Strategic Application

There are a few ways in which a Talent Management strategy may be adopted with respect to its scope.

At one end of the spectrum, some organisations choose to include the workforce in its entirety – an approach that may be undertaken in order to benefit engagement and overall talent development. Other companies may develop a more exclusive method focus segmenting talent according to need. In scenarios such as this, the talent management process will specifically relate to high-potential individuals or those occupying key and/or critical roles.

It is relatively common for organisations to opt for a blended approach in practice, with all employees included as a complete talent group, however with more focus paid to a particular core group or groups of employees.

Above all, and irrespective of which approach an organisation adopts, consistency, equity and fairness must be applied in all Talent Management processes, with a clear and visible consideration for diversity practices.

Talent Management Strategy

One of the primary factors to consider when setting up and developing talent strategies is the need to develop processes to track the performance and progress of those employees identified as talent.

Stakeholder Management

Careful attention needs to be paid to the involvement of stakeholders in talent management strategy implementation and its associated activities.

Program Participants

An important early consideration for organisations is how to select participants for formal Talent Management programs. Research has shown that the existence of structured selection processes serves to increase the perceived value of talent programs and the motivation of participants to perform. For those not selected, by contrast, the negative effects of being ‘passed over’ are not as detrimental as might be feared, particularly if individuals are provided with sensitive and practical feedback.

Once participants have completed Talent Management programs, it is a good idea to maintain a dialogue with the individuals concerned, so as to manage any potential frustration that the career development opportunities associated with the talent management process do not immediately materialise.

Managers of Participants

Line managers must take responsibility for managing performance and for identifying and developing talent in their own areas. At the same time, however, these managers also need to be encouraged to see talent holistically for the company to truly benefit from talent programs overall.

In addition, visible senior leadership support is essential. Having senior management sit in on events and engage with participants, chair sessions, or sponsor projects are all useful means of ensuring their active involvement.