Talent management - improving workplace productivity

by 10 Oct 2012

What is talent management? EI’s people and culture manager, Shane Duffy believes there a four fundamental objectives of talent management, around which any successful talent management strategy should be built.

The best teams are made up of the best people and are able to perform at the best level.

Businesses that invest time and resources into developing an effective talent management strategy will see a significant ROI as many believe that improved workplace productivity is influenced by the retention of employees.

EI’s people and culture manager, Shane Duffy believes there a four fundamental objectives of talent management, around which any successful talent management strategy should be built, these are:

  • Attracting talent
  • Retaining talent
  • Developing talent
  • Rewarding talent

Talent management represents the latest evolution of the HR function in keeping pace with business demands and ensuring the HR profession maintains currency. We have seen HR evolve from a business function (payroll and personnel management) to a business partnership with the emergence of strategic HR. The latest evolution to an incorporation of talent management is a symbol of business integration.

Import elements to consider within these four objectives include:


  • Performance management systems
  • Career development
  • Identification of talent gaps
  • Recruitment
  • Corporate identity
  • Reward and recognition


Performance management
Performance management strategy needs to be tailor-made to suit a businesses’ needs, as different businesses have different objectives. The areas of assessment should include knowledge, skills, experience, personal organisation, core competencies, personal traits, education and tenure. Identifying and managing each of these points with employees can allow the nurturing and developing of talent according to the needs of the business.

Despite this, it has been found that only 5% of organisations say they have a clear talent management strategy in place. (Bersin & Associates, Talent Acquisition Systems 2011: Market Realities, Implementation Examples and Solution Provider Profiles, April 2011).

The best approach is to align organisational objectives with measures of skill and competency; the subsequent development plan should aim to have an emphasis on learning and development and the creation of a high performance workforce, which will inevitably help towards improving workplace productivity. Shane recommends four areas as a priority for structuring performance reviews, which can be performed as often as quarterly:


  • Enhancing individual and team performance
  • Rewarding talent and results
  • Building a high performance culture
  • Ensuring greater ROI through people


Annual reviews are becoming 'old hat' particularly in the face of high mobility workforces which contribute towards low levels of retention, with workers being less loyal and more eager to move on and broaden their experiences elsewhere. It may be common place for a company to be prepared for change and development at the higher levels with senior executives, but lower levels need to be addressed, trained and developed to push the talent through the pipeline.

Career development
Pushing talent through the pipeline enhances the quality of leadership in the business, it is also an opportunity to recognise leaderships qualities in individuals. Improving workplace productivity requires the implementation of career development plans for each employee, with reviews at set intervals to ensure the goals set in place are achieved. The training needs should also be identified and can be categorised into three areas:


  • Organisation
  • Task or job
  • Individual or career


By considering the skills that are required for both today and tomorrow, for both the individual and the organisation, there is a shared commitment put in place between the employee and employer which serves the interest of improving workplace productivity.


About the author

Shane Duffy is EI’s people and culture manager. For further information on EI visit: thinkei.com