Star Talent Missing Out on Development

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British business is failing to make the most of its star talent – with less than half of UK businesses implementing talent development programmes, according to research by recruitment outsourcing specialist Capital Consulting and Cranfield School of Management.

While 60% of the businesses surveyed said that talent management is essential to a businesses bottom line, only 41% of businesses were strategically managing their star talent. The researchers said this showed a major ‘disconnect’ between what senior managers say about talent management and what’s actually in place in their organisations.

Those surveyed said that various factors were holding them back from implementing talent management strategies, including a lack of financial investment (51%) and insufficient senior management support (40%).

Jeremy Tipper, Group Managing Director of Capital Consulting, said: “The changing nature of UK and global economies and the demographics that lead to a shrinking talent pool entering the workforce will really begin to bite over the next three to five years. Acquiring and keeping people is already very important, and will only become more so. How good you are at managing talent will become a crucial factor in whether you are a winner or a loser in terms of competitive advantage.”

Even those who practice what they preach come up short according to the report: less than half (47%) of organisations published their talent management strategy internally, one in five does not link the strategy to their business plan, and just 15% measure return on investment. Innovation is also in short supply, with the likes of sabbaticals and overseas assignments taking a back seat to conventional courses and on-the-job training as methods for developing future leaders.

Dr Emma Parry, research fellow at Cranfield School of Management, said the report should serve as a ‘wake up call’ to employers at a time when mounting global competition and the changing demographics mean the need for strategic management of human capital has never been greater. “The ‘disconnect’ between what senior managers are saying and what they are doing is very worrying. It’s clear that, in the main, their actions have not caught up with their rhetoric when it comes to talent management.”

* Research conducted by Cranfield School of Management, 10 April – 15 May 2007. It consisted of an online survey, to which 608 HR directors responded, and five in-depth case study interviews of organisations which illustrated best practice talent management.

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