Talent Management

by Rachel Brushfield

What is talent?

The definition of talent varies considerably from company to company, so it is important to understand exactly what talent means within the context of your company or organisation.

Different definitions of talent include

  • All staff

Doing easily what others find difficult is talent; doing what is impossible for talent is genius.

Henri Frédéric Amiel
  • Staff with specialist technical skills that are critical to the company
  • People with specific skills who are in short supply, such as engineers
  • High potentials – staff perceived to have the ability to develop quickly and move rapidly through the different levels of management or grades
  • Staff with good emotional intelligence and the leadership ability to engage and motivate employees
  • Rainmakers – staff with the ability to generate business and sales.

Why is talent important to an organisation?

Talent is important because there is a worldwide shortage of employees with the right technical and interpersonal skills, so there are not enough people to go around. As a result, you may be used to hearing the phrase ‘talent war’, as competitors have to fight to win the best talent in their sector from the available ‘talent pool’.

Talent pool

A talent pool is the group of people available to fill positions. They are a combination of internal and external candidates, people in your country and people in other countries. They are also people who work in lateral sectors but who have the same or similar attributes to the ones required to do the job.

Talent is also important because

  • We live in a knowledge economy, so it’s crucial that companies find and retain the best people if they are to achieve a competitive advantage
  • The world is increasingly small, so local talent can be poached to move abroad and work internationally
  • Globalisation also means there are more careers for people to choose from
  • Modern businesses need talent to deal effectively and positively with fast change and uncertainty.
Talent competencies

Talent competencies are the skills, knowledge and personality traits required for your business to succeed. This is sometimes called a competency framework. It is a checklist of specific skills, behaviours and attitudes believed to be crucial to excellence in the area that a company defines as talent. It can be a particular job, training, management and leadership skill or a specialist technical skill.

Competencies are used to recruit, appraise and evaluate learning and development needs and then create personal development plans to address any development areas.