CIPD publishes survey on talent management

A survey of talent management from the perspective of employees by the UK Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development found that coaching, mentoring and networking were valued above the more formal development opportunities offered by a talent management programme. Arranging a selection process beforehand was found to boost participants’ commitment to the programme. In addition, human resource managers play a critical role in coordinating talent pools and programmes.

The recent talent management survey (590Kb PDF) carried out in the UK by the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development (CIPD) focused on ‘very senior employees who are undertaking elements of organised talent development activity’. CIPD issued questionnaires to such employees in 11 medium to large organisations from a cross-section of sectors and received 302 responses. Seventeen follow-up interviews were also conducted by CIPD.

Survey findings

A report on the survey was published in June 2010. Its main findings are summarised below.

  • A selection process prior to talent management programmes ‘enhances feelings of self-awareness, confidence and motivation to perform well, for those who are successful applicants’. Interviewees reported that engagement in such a process had made them feel that participation in the talent management programme was a more valuable experience than if a selection process had not preceded it. However, this benefit was found to be slightly offset by a negative impact on levels of commitment by unsuccessful applicants to the organisation.
  • Respondents valued development opportunities such as ‘coaching, mentoring and networking’ more than the ‘more formal’ development opportunities offered by talent management programmes; 76% reported that participation in a talent management programme had benefited them in that they had become part of a ‘development network’ and 78% stated that the opportunity of participating in ‘coaching’ had been made available to them through engagement with a talent management programme. When asked to select the top three opportunities (out of 11) of most benefit to them through participation in a talent management programme, 50% of respondents chose ‘coaching’.
  • The human resource (HR) management function of organisations ‘plays a critical role in coordinating talent pools and programmes and maintaining momentum’. A talent management programme was more likely to be successful if HR assumed a role in its operation; 76% of respondents rated the talent programme as ‘good’ or ‘very good’ when the programme was run by HR, whereas the figure dropped to 68% when the programme was not run by HR. HR’s association with the talent management programme also increased its reputation within the business.
  • Respondents reported that support for the talent management programme from the top of the organisation was normally very high and remarked on the critical nature of this support.

Policy recommendations

On the basis of the survey’s findings, CIPD made a number of policy recommendations to companies and HR practitioners, including those outlined below.

  • The objectives and rationale for the talent management programme should be clearly developed and communicated to staff and participants, and the expectations of participants in such a programme should be consistent with those of the business and HR. The structure of existing talent management programmes should be reviewed to ensure ‘the inclusion of effective development opportunities such as coaching, mentoring and networking’.
  • The role of HR is crucial to the operation of the talent management programme. The report notes that ‘central HR is crucial in maintaining the consistency of the selection process, credibility of the programme and subsequently its overall reputation in the organisation’.
  • If there is a selection process prior to the talent management programme, it is important to ensure ‘that the [selection] criteria are administered consistently and have a planned strategy for those who are not accepted to be part of the programme.’ The selection process should be viewed as a learning event in itself and all applicants should be provided with detailed feedback.

Thomas Prosser, University of Warwick

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