At a recent CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) meeting I gave a presentation about Talent Management.
For my money the word “talent” has been hijacked and exploited in recent times by the reality TV genre so I began by asking the group to name as many reality TV shows as they could and 3 minutes and a lot of laughter later we had a staggering 17 listed!
But talent shows aside, for those of us working in HR and learning and development, what do we mean by ‘talent’? The CIPD define talent as being individuals who can make a difference to organisational performance (through performance or potential).
And it makes sense doesn’t it – if a business is to be sustainable – we need those individuals who can drive performance, coming up through the organisation. But is it that clear cut in the HR and L & D department?
The question I put to my group was: are you growing a few giant sunflowers or a whole field of sunflowers? I call it the politics of fairness.
If you are running a training function in a business which has cut the training budget and reduced headcount who do you spend your reduced budget on? A few individuals who may make a difference to company performance or are you trying to offer something to everyone?
This is where the organisation really needs to get clear on how it defines talent management. Is it about developing the talent that everyone has or the talent that will drive the future of the business?
The lively discussion we had on this topic demonstrated to me just how thoughtful and sensitive my group were to the organisational development issues that they were grappling with back at the coal face.
Above all, HR and OD needs a seat at the top table. Talent Management and Development strategies are key to the sustainability of businesses but buy in from Boards and Executive Teams is crucial. Learning and Development professionals are already walking a tightrope in terms of where to focus reduced budgets and they need to be strategic, creative and brave. Make sure you support them.