New study shows businesses still not harnessing their existing talent

LONDON – A new report, entitled ‘Creating the Talent-Driven Business’, published today by Business Intelligence in association with the Corporate Research Forum and Taleo, reveals that most companies fail to make the most of the talent they already have. They lack a clear view of the kinds of talent that matters most to their organisations and fail to forecast the talent they need to succeed in the future.

The report finds that:

  • 60% of companies do not have a talent strategy, although a similar number believe that talent is critical to business success.
  • Only a handful of companies have a joined-up approach to managing the talent management life cycle from recruitment to development and performance management. This is rated the second most challenging aspect of talent management by 65% of respondents.
  • Linking talent goals to business objectives is rated the number one challenge by 78%.

By studying various talent management practices in different industries, the report, ‘Creating the Talent-Driven Business’, identifies the methods and technologies that enable companies to improve talent management effectiveness.

Mike Haffenden, director, Corporate Research Forum, says, “Our research shows that sound processes are essential for talent management, but they need to be connected, consistent and have a clear line of sight to the business strategy. Processes are not sufficient on their own: they need an organisational environment that supports and encourages effective people development and deployment.”

Alice Snell, vice president of Taleo Research, comments, “Success is powered by the total talent productivity of a company’s workforce – this means providing talent management processes for all employees. Regardless of whether it is a global enterprise, SME or public sector organisation, talent management practices are the elements of business management process that deliver an optimal workforce for any organisation.”

The report includes examples of smart practice such as:

  • LSG Sky Chefs, the airline in-flight service company, has developed a competency-based approach to performance that enables the company to assess, measure and improve the contribution of key talent to the business
  • AstraZeneca has improved the visibility of talent for key roles by developing systems and technologies to support succession planning for its global operations
  • Reed Elsevier has reinvented its approach to talent management around a great-place-to-work initiative to improve attraction and retention of key staff

The report highlights the factors that underpin successful talent management including:

  • The alignment of business and talent strategy
  • Prioritising capabilities and roles that have the greatest bearing on corporate success
  • Buy-in and practical support at all management levels
  • Being able to discriminate between high performance and high potential
  • The integration of talent processes and practices

The report also highlights evidence of the close correlation between successful talent management and superior business results, but finds that less than one in five companies are in this high-achiever group.

David Harvey, principal author, says, “Creating the Talent-Driven Business confirms that talent management is as crucial to business success in tough as well as good times. But companies need to be far more rigorous about assessing where talent can make the biggest impact. It’s not just next-generation leaders that contribute to outstanding performance but individuals in other key positions in the organisation. Finding and nurturing these people is what talent management is all about.”