Taleo Corporation, provider of talent management solutions, has released new research findings which show that organisations are prioritising employee development over hiring for the year ahead, as they look to improve staff retention and develop talent within the business.

The vast majority (82%) of HR professionals surveyed said they considered employee development to be a bigger priority for their organisation in 2011, compared to just 18% who felt recruitment was going to be more important. In addition, 56% of respondents reported that employee development and training was perceived as an essential business enabler within their organisation, while 15% reported that it was still seen as a ‘nice to have’ rather than essential.

When asked to identify what would help their organisation to develop its talent better, more than a quarter (27%) of respondents felt that better visibility of skill gaps would greatly assist them in developing employee talent, while almost as many (25%) would like better visibility of their employees’ existing skills.

Chris Phillips, Vice President, International Marketing at Taleo, said, “As businesses expand globally, talent mobility requirements make the ability to develop skills from within your existing workforce an imperative in any successful business strategy. It can reduce staff attrition, boost staff engagement and minimise the recruitment costs, all of which will be crucial in the coming months as organisations look to drive growth.”

Phillips continued, “A worrying number of companies do not have access to reliable information regarding employee skill sets. Without successfully identifying skills gaps, a company cannot create and implement the necessary training and development plans to up-skill their workforce. Having accurate and accessible information on employees within a business is a vital part of developing the talent intelligence which supports the company’s wider goals.”

Protected budgets and the disparity between HR and IT departments

The research also found that 65% of HR professionals were not expecting any planned changes to their employee development and training budgets for 2011. However, while almost three quarters (70%) of respondents felt that the implementation of talent management technology was important to their HR departments, IT teams were still lagging behind, with 62% of respondents believing that the same technology was equally important to the business. This supports the findings of Taleo’s earlier HR Systems Survey, which identified that while many IT teams viewed their work as ‘done’ when it came to HR technology, the HR departments felt greater integration was required.

Phillips concluded: “It is good to see that, despite the economic climate, many HR departments are retaining their budgets and investing in their staff. People are key to the success of any business and it’s more important than ever to retain, as well as recruit, the highest calibre individuals.”