What Is HR Talent Management?

What Is HR Talent Management?
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HR Talent ManagementHR talent management rose into prominence in the 1990s simultaneous with the increasing importance of human resources in the strategic human resources management context. The proliferation of technology, the spread of knowledge based industries, and the increasingly competitive global marketplace, elevated the human resource of the enterprise as the critical repository of organizational knowledge and a major source of competitive advantage. The increasing realization that human resources drive business success made organizations devise and implemented various methods to attract a skilled workforce to the organization, make optimal utilization of the available human resources, and retain skilled talent in the organization.

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Elements of Talent Management Program

The major elements of any talent management program includes:

  • Devising strategies to attract and source skilled people with competitive backgrounds into the organization.
  • Instituting and managing competitive employee retention initiative based on motivation, developing commitment, and effective remuneration.
  • Providing employees with skill enhancement opportunities by identifying talent gap and offering training and development programs and other initiatives. These programs aim to develop employee’s competencies to higher levels as well as lateral levels in the organization.
  • Effective performance management process to leverage the employee’s talent to further the organization’s strategic goals.
  • Developing leadership skills of the employees.
  • Establishing promotion and transitioning systems, and succession planning programs.

The Process

The major HR talent management steps include a good review of the existing systems and procedures, followed by measuring current trends and forecasting future needs to determine the various talent management interventions require–before implementing the various elements of the program. Good talent management interventions need integration with every Human Resource Information System.

The implementation of talent management programs in an organization requires constant monitoring by the human resource department and top management, and periodic review to ascertain the progress and make any required changes.

The Stanford Talent Management Model lists a three phase cyclical approach toward talent management:

  1. Build on organizational strengths and grow talent through individual development plans, mentoring, and coaching.
  2. Establish and maintain alignment through effective job descriptions, performance management, leadership, and other competency models.
  3. Anticipate and plan through skills and competencies assessments, succession planning, staff portfolio management, and strategic planning.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Apart from achieving the intended goal of boosting employee competency and reducing the turnover of skilled personnel, HR talent management helps organizations boost their revenue and product quality, improve customer satisfaction, and improve process efficiency. Effective utilization of talent and focusing on retaining skilled employees helps to cut costs.

Two major risks associated with a talent management program are:

  1. The possibility of the skilled employee leaving the organization for greener pastures after the organization puts in the hard work of developing the employee’s talent.
  2. Risk of discontent and demotivation among employees overlooked for various talent management programs.

The success of HR talent management initiatives depend on support at all levels within the organization, and a culture of openness to share information and knowledge. The responsibility for talent management of skilled employees is not with the human resource department, but rather with managers and supervisors.


  1. Aivazian, Dani. “Talent Management.” Stanford University. Retrieved from https://med.stanford.edu/dfa/documents/Stanford-talent-management-101309.pdf on 17 November 2010.
  2. Bersin, Josh. “Talent Management. What It Is/ Why Now?” Retrieved from https://www.bf.umich.edu/docs/KeyReferenceArticles.pdf on 17 November 2010.