Advisory Board Company | A Fundamental Business Strategy: Talent Management
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A Fundamental Business Strategy: Talent Management

14 Jul A Fundamental Business Strategy: Talent Management

“Talent management deserves as much focus as financial capital management in corporations.” -Jack Welch


High turnover rates can severely affect the desired growth and success among organizations of all sizes. In fact, attrition is indicative of an in-house problem. Too often, CEO’s of small-to-midsized companies fail to recognize attrition before it is too late. The solution to reducing attrition is talent management.

Talent management strategies exist to reduce turnover and are fundamental to the overall success of a company. The strategic side of human resources, talent management directly deals with people or talent in an organization by focusing on the recruitment, retainment, development, and engagement of the most talented employees. These programs and strategies also focus on organizational processes designed to establish workforce planning, the talent acquisition process, organizational design, change management and the development of employees to improve business value and ensure sustained growth.

Talent management develops strategic approaches to the following questions:

  • How do we attract employees or talent to the organization?
  • What is the employee value proposition?
  • How do we use social media to attract talent?
  • After attracting people, how do we then select them? Do we use an assessment such as testing?
  • What kind of interviews are we conducting to select those people?
  • How do we keep people engaged?
  • How do we onboard them?
  • How do we provide for their learning and development?
  • How do we look at their performance management?
  • Are diversity and inclusion part of the culture?
  • Who are we looking for to be the leaders of tomorrow?


For talented employees, there is leadership and executive development. Some organizations offer a corporate university for their employees, although coaching or mentoring are standard methods to develop people within the organization. Talent management concentrates on creating opportunities for advancement, upward mobility, succession plans, and the conduction of talent reviews to determine which individuals move into a succession plan or are admitted to a high-performance program. Talent management is more than training; it is educational.  Employee development programs are vital to ensuring the abilities, skills, and knowledge of employees are cutting edge while also empowering positive change within the culture of an organization to increase performance.

Talent management cultivates a positive culture within companies through engagement to reduce attrition. Engagement is critical to keeping employees, at least the ones we want to stay with the company from leaving and going to work for our competitors. When an employee is passionate about their work, wholeheartedly committed to their organization and takes positive action to further the company’s success, they are fully engaged. Engagement ensures turnover reduction and keeps the talented players employed by the organization.

Furthermore, talent management looks at how people separate from the company. And eventually, we all do. We all leave a company at one point in time or another. We do not stay at an organization forever. We might stay there for a long time, but ultimately, we retire. Or we pass away at our desks.  That separation strategy is also a vital subcomponent of talent management.

Ultimately, there are two kinds of organizations. There are those businesses simply offering a job for somebody to earn money. This position has minimal effect on their future work life and little possibility of advancement. Then there are those companies looking for top talent. These businesses are offering a career path, a series of connected employment opportunities, developments, and experiences. Talent management is the key difference between providing a job versus a career path.

Turnover, culture, and engagement are the biggest indicators as to how successful a business either is or will be. Are people happy working at their company? Or do they get up on a Monday morning with the mentality of, “Meh, I have to go work today.” And those individuals are probably average employees, mediocre employees.  Mediocrity will kill an organization over time. Talent management drives mediocrity out of a company and develops a culture of employees that strive for excellence. Developing a strong talent management department within an organization produces high caliber employees and greater success.

Jed Friend, PhD., is the Chief Talent Officer of Board Developer and Vice President-Talent Management at Human Capital Solutions Consulting. For about two years, Jed was also the Global Manager of Talent Development with Flowserve, a publicly traded organization on the NYSE. Jed can be reached at

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