Talent Management – maximum impact with minimum spend

According to the CIPD Learning & Development Survey 2009 the development of management and leadership skills will play a central role in meeting business objectives over the next two years. A key enabler of effective talent development is a clear commitment from the leadership team, while the greatest barriers tend to be the time and cost associated with running talent management schemes. In the current climate, where numerous short-term priorities consume both people and financial resources how can organisations achieve this longer term commitment to talent development?

It appears that the most widely used and effective talent management activities are currently in-house development programmes and coaching (HDA, 2008; CIPD, 2009). In order to develop an understanding as to how to introduce these initiatives into your own organisation it can often be useful to review how successful organisations have achieved this. So outlined below are five key ‘tips’ from a selection of HDA clients in this area:

  1. Return on investment (ROI) – understanding the ROI that can be achieved through coaching and leadership development is central to the success of these initiatives. “Set key objectives at the outset, both quantitative and qualitative, and measure against these throughout the process. This will ensure not only that you stay on track in terms of what you are trying to achieve but also that you can assess the business impact the initiative has made. This information can then be used to positively reinforce any further talent management spend” (Head of Learning & Development, Financial Services).

  2. Communicate – the way in which both the benefits and reasons behind introducing the initiative are communicated will have an impact on whether senior leaders buy-in to the process. It is at this point that understanding ROI plays a role. “Talent management initiatives should never be positioned as a remedial action but always as a positive opportunity for individuals/teams, which will ultimately assist in enabling the organisation to meet their key business objectives.” (Senior Manager, Manufacturing)

  3. Assess for Success – involves both assessing against your objectives as an organisation and the individual objectives of those participating in leadership development activities. In addition undertake rigorous assessment of the coaching provider in advance of committing to the work – references, quality, success factors, etc. (Head of Personnel, Public Sector)

  4. Pilot/Trial & Review – often trialling an activity can create demand. “By providing one or two individuals with the opportunity to engage in coaching or undertaking a pilot training session can be a useful means of introducing the concept into the organisation. If all goes well then word of mouth will create demand for further sessions.” (Head of HR, Professional Services)

  5. Alternative Approaches – think creatively to maximise impact with minimum spend. “Provide key staff members with coaching behaviours training thereby enabling them to coach their own teams. This will facilitate the development of a caching culture across the organisation and can at times be a valuable alternative approach to employing external providers.” (HRM, Media)

As part of our research in this area, HDA are currently undertaking a short survey to identify the steps that organisations are taking to sustain a commitment to talent management initiatives in the current climate – to participate please click on the following link: http://www.hda.co.uk/TalentmanagementSurvey2009


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