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Talent management: a key component of HR

Talent management is a top priority at organizations, although the success and quality of those strategies vary, according to the latest survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

Talent management is becoming an important component of human resource management, SHRM survey research specialist Shawn Fegley writes in the 2006 Talent Management Survey Report ​released Jan. 25.

Talent management strategies are designed to attract, develop, retain and use employees with the necessary skills and aptitude to meet a businesss current and future needs.

Fegley notes that talent management has evolved from an administrative process into a continuous organizational practice that includes succession planning, leadership development, and retention and career planning.

Three-fourths (76 percent) of 203 respondents in the poll said talent management is a top priority at their organization, and, among those ranking it a top priority, 90 percent were at organizations with 500 or more employees; 69 percent were medium-sized employers (100 to 499 employees), and 75 percent were small (one to 99 employees), according to a September e-mail poll of SHRM members.

Very successful organizations like Yahoo Inc., the subject of an SHRM Foundation DVD on talent management, are well-known for their corporate culture and making talent management a top priority, Fegley says in the report.

More than half (53 percent) of 384 HR professionals surveyed said their organization has specific talent management initiatives in place. Organizations with such initiatives, the survey found, were more likely to:

  • Have formal budgets for recruiting candidates and developing and retaining employees.

    Consider talent management a top priority for their organizations.

    Be large organizations with 500 or more employees; publicly or privately owned for-profit organizations; and have five or more staffers in their HR departments.

    Have HR working directly with employees or managers in talent management. More than three-fourths of those polled said this was the case.

    Have their HR people rate their organizations more highly regarding workplace culture, planning, development opportunities, professional advancement, reward management, recruitment and retention.

They also were slightly more likely to prepare junior or mid-level employees for senior leadership roles.

Not surprisingly, the survey found, HR was primarily responsible for recruitment, with development and retention falling to the employees supervisor. However, less than one-third (31 percent) of those polled said their organizations had formal budgets for retaining employees, and overall the retention budget was significantly lower than for recruiting and developing employees.

Building a deeper pool of people who could move up at every level topped a list of areas where their organizations needed to improve talent management practices, HR professionals said.

The other three areas were:

  • Creating a culture where employees want to stay with the organization.

    Identifying gaps in the competency levels of employees and job candidates.

    Creating policies that encourage career growth and development opportunities.

The degree of quality and the success that organizations have with talent management varies, the report concluded, and organizations that use more outcome-driven practices in their talent management and are committed to comprehensive talent management systems tend to be more successful.

Implementing and maintaining a talent management plan can be a challenge since it is a constantly evolving process, and HRs role is vital, Fegley concludes.

It is important that HR professionals take the lead in helping to create and integrate talent management initiatives within their organizations because these initiatives are extended to all employees.

Kathy Gurchiek is an associate editor at HR News . She can be reached at

Related articles:

Talent Management Series Part I: Overview, SHRM Briefly Stated series, July 2005

Talent Management Series Part II: Leadership Development, SHRM Briefly Stated series, July 2005

Talent Management Series Part III: Employee Engagement, SHRM Briefly Stated series, July 2005

Talent Management: A Closer Look, SHRM Staffing & Recruitment Focus Area, May 2005

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