Talent management – the art of having the right people in the right jobs at the right time – can apply from recruitment and selection onwards, but is generally taken to mean managing and developing people with the potential to make a difference to performance either short or long-term, up to and including future leaders.

Nearly six out of ten organisations undertake talent management activities, covering all or most employees in two-fifths of organisations, mainly through on-the-job training, coaching or in-house development such as internal knowledge-sharing. 

Other formal or informal activities can include networking events, leadership coaching, mentoring, and meetings with clients, particularly where this is not a regular part of the individual’s role .

Talent management, focused on the individual for organisational improvement, requires its own separate strategy to run alongside resourcing and retention strategies, but is likely to mean something different in every organisation. Whatever methods are used, the CIPD stresses the importance of senior management support and having a formal procedure for selecting participants to raise its perceived value. 

Although the CIPD reports a significant increase in organisations reporting their talent management activities fairly or very effective – up to 71% in 2013 from 56% in 2012 (and compared to 50% in 2011) there is some evidence that UK organisations' practices and procedures are not all they might be: e.g. while 75% of employees say it is important to know they are being considered for progression ("very important" for 25%) 27% have never had a performance review . 


"talent management at all levels also requires imaginative and innovative development"

Improving line manager skills (42%) is the second-most common method to address retention (after improving induction, 45%). But in the same way as the traditional concept of a career as an upward progression though a sequence of roles has changed, talent management at all levels also requires imaginative and innovative development, engagement and deployment policies; for example, allowing or even encouraging talent in smaller firms to move to another company for wider experience.

There is also an important role for coaching and mentoring, using a more structured and sophisticated approach for development programmes: as for example Randstad's role in the financial and professional sector identifying formal procedures for selecting individuals and senior management support, ideally as mentors, to raise the perceived value of talent management.