The Importance of Developing Talent

30 May

Know what talent looks like at your company.

Holding onto talented workers keeps top performers at the company, resulting in long-term benefits for the business. But preventing key workers from leaving the company can be easier said than done in many respects. Top talent may be recruited by another business and provided with higher compensation than their current employers can offer, or may feel unengaged with their jobs and search for other opportunities. According to Fast Company, retaining top employees is now one of the hardest challenges of HR departments and businesses. Companies can come up against many problems when they try to keep their best workers around, but there is one strategy that can be a great solution for many employers: talent management.

HR professionals know this strategy all too well, but it's an important one for human resources departments and their companies to remember. If top workers feel like they can't develop their skill sets or aren't provided with the opportunities to challenge themselves, they may look for new positions. Talent management has started to become a major focus for many companies, with a recent survey from Towers Watson finding that financial service businesses in particular have begun looking at employee management strategies to keep top talent.

Managing Talent a Key Focus of Financial Firms
Towers Watson surveyed 60 senior HR executives of financial services firms at its recent conference, and found 44 percent are specially focusing on identifying and training their companies' talented workers. To do this, one-quarter are turning to updating their human resource systems within the next 12 months, as having the best technology helps HR professionals improve their workforce planning. 

Chris Farbo, global leader of the company's talent and rewards financial services practice, said that holding onto talent is more of a challenge for companies now than in the past due to many companies trying to regain their footing after the recession. To successfully tackle these talent challenges, the HR professionals said they are evaluating the effectiveness of the company's managers and are developing better performance and talent management programs.

Yet, knowing what the company deems talent is important for HR professionals to effectively create and develop solutions to the talent issue – and determining what talent is may be just as difficult as managing it.

Know What Talent Means to Your Company
Many HR professionals overlook the importance of defining what talent is to the company, as it is a term that can be used in many ways. Some HR representatives may consider talented workers those with the potential to lead the business, yet those employees who don't want to actually move up in the company but simply sharpen their skill sets can still be considered to be "talent." According to an article in TLNT by Anne Fulton, director of the Career Engagement Group, many companies limit their talent – and so lose that talent – by only thinking of talent as workers who are engaged in vertical movement at the company.

Instead, Fulton noted the best talent management strategies are those that allow productive workers with strong performance metrics to develop according to their individual needs.

"The most innovative career management approaches now focus on enabling individuals to navigate their own unique career paths, in accordance with their individual preferences," Fulton wrote.

For HR professionals to truly have a grip on their talent management, they need to ensure they understand what talent means for their organizations. Engaging talented employees in their own career progression, even if that means they won't become candidates for the company's C-suite, can keep the best workers at the company, benefiting the business for years to come.

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