Talent management has become the hot career move for HR professionals. But how can they ensure it's taking the organisation where it needs to be?
Demand for new business cards must be booming. Talent managers, directors of talent, and countless other related job titles are emerging all over the place as talent management fast becomes the specialism of choice for HR professionals.
Depending on who you ask, talent management can encompass a host of functions, both inside and outside of HR. Some organisations use it to describe their recruitment and attraction process; others their succession planning strategy; others the whole gamut of processes from bringing someone into the company to handling their exit interview when they leave.
Definitions aside, HR departments are being forced to do more with less when it comes to attracting and retaining staff. A survey earlier this year by Personnel Today's sister title IRS Employment Review found that three-quarters of employers experienced recruitment difficulties during 2005-06, and more than half of the employers it surveyed had experienced a cut in their recruitment budget. On top of this, economists predict that the UK labour market will grow by just 0.5% between now and 2010, so the recruitment pool is tight.
This means that HR must get savvier about how it manages its existing workforce.
Building society Nationwide is just one employer that has put a greater emphasis on talent management in response to the shrinking employment market. "The financial services industry is more regulated than ever, yet we still need to provide great service in our branches and call centres," says Ros Foster, programme manager for personnel operations. "We now do a lot of work with line managers and people on the front line, plus we look at our competitors."
The company has outsourced some of its external recruitment to services provider Kenexa, enabling it to focus on retaining existing employees. And while some HR projects fail to get off the ground because it is difficult to prove their return on investment, talent management is one aspect of HR that never fails to get chief executive sign-off.
Research by the Economist Intelligence Unit, published in conjunction with global HR consultancy DDI, found that CEOs