January 6, 2015

Talent Development Is a Key Element in Talent Management

We hear the terms “talent development” and “talent management” more and more in Human Resource (HR formerly personnel) circles.  Some think they are the same thing while others may believe they are separate or somehow connected.  Are these just new buzzwords that take the place of old HR terms or are they a new form of employee empowerment?  Will these terms disappear in a few years like so many other business buzzwords have? 

The answer to the buzzword question is Yes and No.  Yes in a way, talent management is a new term that encompasses many old HR departments into a more integrated and strategic plan for hiring and retaining the best employees.  According to ERE.net (Electronic Recruiting Exchange) talent management is a major breakthrough. It requires an integrated approach from HR (recruitment, benefits/compensation, and training are no longer separate functions working on their different projects) and more involvement from non-HR management.  The purpose being to hire the right people (and when necessary let the wrong people go) and make sure they develop into great representatives of the organization. HR professionals who want to learn more should read The Talent Management Handbook.

No, talent development is not a new term for employee empowerment. Empowerment is pretty much a given in most successful companies now.   However, this newer term may encompass the different levels of personal and team development that leads to empowerment through OJT or formal learning/training.  According to Forbes, there are 3 barriers and 5 keys to talent development that leaders must understand. Talent development is more about improving performance and providing training opportunities to help employees excel.  If talent development is still a puzzle, check out 5 Talent Development Strategies to Enhance Long-Term Employee Engagement and Commitment to better understand how the old training department fits into the new talent management culture.

Whether or not these new business buzzwords will disappear? Only time can tell for sure.  However, it has been 17 years since the McKinsey & Company research that prompted the talent management term, 13 years since the book The War for Talent was published, and 10 years since the above ERE article on talent management was written.  Yet, many HR folks are still using the term.  As far as the term talent development goes, let us hope it sticks around because ASTD, the American Society for Training and Development changed their name to include that term (Association for Talent Development - ATD) this year after over 70 years with versions of their old name.

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