No Image Available

googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-1705321608055-0’); });

Leadership and the importance of talent management


Despite the economic conditions, investment in skills must not stop. And, as Ruth Spellman of the Chartered Management Institute explains, how employers choose to develop their talent now will be crucial to recovery.

As one news story announces that confidence levels are on the up and we may be on the road to recovery, another pours cold water on our optimism and declares that UK Plc is more down in the dumps than ever.

The inconsistency is a reflection of how unpredictable things have become. Recently The Times reported that data from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research showed that the recession was officially over. One week later and the CBI announce that recovery is postponed until 2010.
It is reasonable that in this time of uncertainty, attracting, training and retaining talented staff is not at the top of the agenda for employers. Yet if we are to ensure a competitive future, then it must become an urgent priority. After all, if talk is tentatively turning to economic recovery, businesses must begin to question their readiness for the upturn and determine how confident they feel about the future.  
Of course, it’s understandable that managers are looking to make cuts, but a recession is about identifying sensible cutbacks, not major budget reductions that will leave organisations floundering. This is a view echoed in recent research by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI). Most respondents to the CMI’s Business Outlook survey expressed a desire to maintain their development programmes, yet they have had little choice but to scale back activities because of the lack of available credit.
In April I was optimistic as the Chancellor spoke of the need to ‘invest in recovery’. CMI members called on the government to give tax breaks to employers offering development to staff who need training. We were sorely disappointed as the focus of skills investment and training remained on the under-25s.
Investment in skills must not stop. How employers choose to develop their talent now will be crucial to recovery.
Strong talent management
Questions should be asked of our talent management systems. To work properly a talent management programme must focus on strategic business needs; not just top performers and younger staff members. What really matters is identifying the skills that will see an organisation through change and then building these competencies.
The current economic climate has had a profound effect on so much but encouragingly the desire of individuals to ‘get qualified’ and continue to develop professionally, has not diminished. CMI research shows that eight in 10 individuals want to be ‘recognised as talent’ by their employer. Yet 15% also claim not to know if talent management systems exist in their organisation. In fact in the UK, 50% of organisations have a system in place but managers need to ensure that they are communicating this appropriately to staff.
Experience shows that strong talent management attracts talented individuals. As we have seen in many rural areas that face a ‘brain drain’ - if people perceive a lack of opportunities for professional development, they seek employment elsewhere.
Evaluating talent management remains difficult and many organisations do not measure the bottom line contribution made by their employees. This needs to change. The challenge for businesses is to continually review and measure their talent management programmes. In doing so the benefits on the bottom line will be all too clear to see.
Confidence may be in short supply, but talent is not. Businesses need to make a concerted effort to develop their existing talent pool and continue to attract skilled individuals. This will ensure they are in the best position to take advantage of the upturn, when it comes.

Ruth Spellman, OBE, is chief executive of the Chartered Management Institute.

No Image Available

Get the latest from TrainingZone.

Elevate your L&D expertise by subscribing to TrainingZone’s newsletter! Get curated insights, premium reports, and event updates from industry leaders.


Thank you!