Talent management is not just an HR task

Responsibility for talent management should not just lie with HR but should be shared with the rest of the business, leading HR directors have said.

Speaking at the Economist’s Talent Management Conference last Friday, HR experts urged functions to focus on developing internal talent, but they warned that HR cannot achieve this by working on talent management in isolation.

Deborah Baker, director of people at broadcasting giant BSkyB, insisted that to develop talent HR must share the responsibility with the core business functions and executives.

She told Personnel Today: “Talent management is not the sole responsibility of HR. We have a responsibility to make sure it happens but we shouldn’t own it, it should be shared. It must be a business issue for the executives and for all the leaders in the organisation.

“One of the things we are working on at BSkyB is to make sure we discuss talent across all the functions. It’s easy to discuss talent just in the HR function but by discussing it with the core functional leaders we can create cross functional skills and share talent throughout the business.

“It shouldn’t just be a matter of HR hunkering down and looking at succession-planning maps.”

She said sharing the responsibilty would enable businesses to make the most of their top talent and improve employee engagement.

Tanith Dodge, director of HR at Marks and Spencer, echoed Baker’s comments and said talent management “absolutely has to be in line with the business strategy” to ensure that staff can efficiently deliver the core needs of the business.

“Talent management has to be the responsibility of all the senior people. For organisations that are getting talent management right it’s not just the responsibility of HR,” she said.

Dodge told Personnel Today that to nurture talent for the future it was essential to develop bespoke training so staff felt valued and supported, and to do this line managers must be encouraged to talk to employees to find out what is important to them.

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