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What is Talent Management?

By Ken Black
Updated May 17, 2024
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Talent management is a name for a human resources program that applies to more than just computing hours and taking care of legal aspects of employment. Rather, talent management applies to the strategy of recruitment and retention, compensation and assessment and review. In some cases, talent management is a process handled over multiple departments. In other cases, it may be solely handled by human resources.

Talent management's first responsibility is to attract and retain qualified employees. Without this primary function, no company can achieve its full potential. Recruiting workers can be a difficult task, especially in times of low unemployment. The further up the ladder the position is, the harder the position will be to fill.

Recruitment and retention may depend on adequate or competitive compensation packages. These packages must be carefully scrutinized based on industry standards. Pay may be the most important of the compensation package but it is not the only part. Traditional benefits such as health insurance and vacation also play a role. However, newer benefits, such as flexible packages and telecommute options can also be very attractive for some positions. Talent management's job is to find out what compensation packages are needed and then see if those, or something similar, can be offered.

After employees have been recruited, the next thing talent management must do is integrate them in a way that is most advantageous to the company. This may involve creating non-traditional positions or creating positions that are shared among two or more individuals. This position sharing takes the focus away from individuals and personalities, but requires more communication between those sharing the position. Further, integration also means finding educational opportunities, whether as part of the normal work environment or through continuing education in a classroom.

Talent management, therefore, means not only finding that talent, but educating it and molding it in such a way as to be most beneficial to the company. While many companies may offer some sort of continuing education through formalized classes or occasional workshops, this is far short of true talent management, which involves a concerted effort of education through regularly scheduled sessions meant to achieve certain standards. The benefits of this education are often quantified in a number of ways, which may include knowledge assessments and practical work assessments.

Talent management also means having outlined programs for those who will be transitioning to new positions, such as the case with promotions. This is often a very volatile time for employees, who are moving from positions they know to positions they will not be as familiar with, and can cause a lack in productivity. Finding a way to make those transitions as easy as possible and providing the necessary resources to those employees is critical to maintaining a seamless operation.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By afterall — On Mar 17, 2011

I didn't realize that human resources people could also be referred to as talent management, though I see they are different. It seems like someone whose job is managing the company's "talent" might take a more hands-on approach to improving people's performance, and in a more friendly manner. It sort of reminds me of a guidance counselor at a school, helping people with personal problems as much as telling them what they need to improve on the job.

By FernValley — On Mar 16, 2011

So how would you go about working in talent management? I mean, what kind of job skills or experience would you need to have? I am interested in learning more about the field because I think that I might be a good fit for it, but I don't really have a lot of experience, so I don't know if I could even get my foot in the door.

Does anyone have any experience with this?

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