Employers urged to rethink talent strategies

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Organisations must change their approach to talent development in order to successfully define and achieve their business strategies, according to a report released today by Harvard Business Publishing (HBP).

Respondents to an annual report carried out by Harvard Business Review said that defining their business strategies was a priority, but many had low confidence that the talent within their organisations would help them to achieve this.

The report also found over one-third of respondents (34%) do not plan to make attracting and developing talent an increased priority this year, while one-fifth are either “not very confident” or “not at all confident” that their organisation has the necessary talent and skills to achieve their strategic goals.

However, today’s dynamic market conditions together with a demographic and cultural shift within organisations mean the time is ripe to adopt a new approach towards leadership development – one that is virtual, time effective, engaging and global.

On a positive note, the report found an increased focus on developing mid-level managers, a group that HBP said had been historically under-invested in when it comes to talent development; 37% of respondents said mid-level managers are seen as the most important focus for leadership investment to serve company goals. This compares with 22% who said executive-level employees were most important.

HBP said programmes such as virtual leadership development have a major part to play in organisations’ improvement of their talent strategies.

Ray Carvey, executive vice-president of corporate learning and international at HBP, said: “We are concerned when we see that many executives around the world don’t have confidence in their organisation’s skills to achieve strategic goals and that most of them are not planning to address it. Doing business today is fundamentally different from just a year ago, and you have to have the right talent within the organisation to meet your goals.

“We are, however, pleased to see the focus on mid-level managers for leadership development – it’s not just about the CEO calling the shots. Creating leaders must happen on an international scale to connect disparate workforces as well as at a deeper level within the organisation to engage more people.”

He added: “Virtual leadership development has the unrivalled benefits to meet these demands. It accelerates a business strategy that is essential to not only adapt to today’s market conditions, but also to take advantage of them and stay ahead. Those who don’t get on board will be left behind.”

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