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Report Identifies Talent Management Challenges


Just half of organisations have a talent management system in place, according to a new report from the Chartered Management Institute and Ashridge Business School.

The research, called Maximising talent for business performance, suggests many employers confuse performance with talent management, using achievements to indicate future potential. Yet only 31% of respondents are confident that their appraisal system accurately identifies high-potential individuals.

While 34% of respondents said that a TM System should uncover individuals with ‘future leadership potential’, the report says that the challenge for employers rests in identifying ‘quiet achievers’, with some respondents (15 per cent) suggesting individuals are identified if they ‘play the system’ at work ather than on potential.

The report also highlights a lack of transpareny in such schemes, with 60% of respondentts saying that selection is influenced by line-managers, or the senior management team.

Diversity is also seen as an issue with 20% fewer women than men, agreeing that their organisation has a selection process for talent, indicating that women still find it hard to break through barriers in the workplace.

The report says that one of the challenges for a successful TM system is the inclusion of individuals with different working styles or working needs, rather than focusing on ‘corporate clones’.

Mary Chapman, chief executive at the Chartered Management Institute, said: “Even where talent management systems are in place, many employers fail to use them to drive performance and competitiveness. If UK organisations are to succeed in a global environment, talent management systems should be aligned with business strategy. Only then will the right talent be identified and nurtured to match the long-term growth plans of an organisation.”

According to the report, measuring return on investment (ROI) for talent management remains a source of difficulty. Wider research shows that only 68% of organisations measure the contribution made by their employees, leading this survey to identify potential measures of ROI. These include the number of internal recruitments over time, the size of the talent pool and the achievement of performance targets.

Kai Peters, chief executive of Ashridge Business School, said: “Offering tailored development routes appropriate to individual strengths can help improve employee engagement and performance. In determining success over the long-term, ROI measures should be appropriate and economical. There is no point collecting costly data if it isn’t fed back into the right areas. Equally, failing to collect information leaves organisations with no knowledge about the success or failure of their talent management system.”

Maximising talent for business performance prepared by Dr Eddie Blass, and supported by Accenture, Grant Thornton, Lloyds TSB, Network Rail and Waitrose, is based on the views of 1,550 individuals and in-depth case-studies of 20 organisations.


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