Talent is the single most important force creating strategic value for an organisation. Understanding talent needs, identifying where that talent is to be found, and engaging and developing that talent, allows the lifeblood of an organisation to be used to best effect.
Strategic Talent Management (STM) is a set of capabilities designed to help an organisation deliver long-term on its strategic objectives by ensuring that the right talent is in the right place at the right time. Organisations need to translate their strategic imperatives into talent consequences, understand which roles and skills are pivotal to organisational success, segment talent according to business priorities, and access, engage and develop their talent. Traditionally, talent in an organisation has been “owned” by the company. Looking to the future, and considering business and generational trends, strategic talent management increasingly needs to account for “open source talent”, such as freelancers, contractors, and indeed anyone with the skills required. Accessing this talent pool needs to be considered by organisations as they develop their Talent Strategy.
Contradictions abound around the importance of talent in organisations and economies. Many parts of the world have high unemployment; yet others have talent shortages. To succeed globally, organisations need to understand talent needs for today and tomorrow, and have a coherent strategy around how to identify, manage, develop and engage that talent. In an environment of economic uncertainty, flatter hierarchies and lay-offs, organisations (i.e., the leaders within them) have a much more important role to play in ensuring that the supply and demand of talent meets organisational goals.
Unless an organisation has been recruiting the wrong talent, or has kept onto now redundant skills, all people have value to bring to an organisation. Some people will progress quickly hierarchically, others can move into many different positions, and yet others will only do well in technical or other specialist roles. Effective talent management is the answer to an ongoing, systemic business challenge. It requires the development of a talent mindset and culture that goes well beyond talent processes.
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