Only 11 per cent of firms have a fully implemented talent management strategy: Survey

Lack of clarity, focus greatest obstacle
||Last Updated: 11/08/2012

Only 11 per cent of major organizations have a fully implemented talent management strategy, according to a survey of 91 Canadian companies by Right Management.

The survey found that little consensus has developed regarding talent management strategy. Twenty-six per cent said they have created such a strategy but face challenges with its implementation. Similarly, seven per cent reported having a strategy but described it as merely a statement of objectives and/or philosophy.

The largest group (46 per cent) reported that they have a series of separate HR processes which are not integrated as a true talent management strategy. And 10 per cent admit to not having any strategy at all, found the survey.

“While 10 per cent of organizations have no talent management strategy at all, it is of equal concern that 79 per cent of organizations face many obstacles preventing them from implementing a talent management strategy,” said Owen Sullivan, Right Management CEO. “There is a need for companies to commit to a systemic effort to assess and align their talent management strategies in the context of their business strategies and build a pipeline of necessary talent required to succeed.”

Organizations must achieve an inclusive strategy where, among other things, recruitment, assessment, training and development, retention and leadership programs are each closely aligned with the organization's business objectives, said Sullivan.

However, there is not much agreement on what a talent management strategy ought to be, even though most companies are convinced they should have one.

“The concept appears to vary from one company to another and putting any such strategy into action is also a problem,” he said.

The greatest obstacle organizations face in implementing a strategy is not enough clarity or focus (18 per cent), followed by insufficient budget or resources (16 per cent) and balancing short-term with long-term needs (14 per cent).

“The lack of clarity and focus suggests that organizations have yet to spend time developing the real business case for a talent management strategy,” said Sullivan. “A disciplined process is needed that reveals the actual and quantifiable risks and trade-offs associated with having or not having a strategy.”

An interesting wrinkle among the data is that organizations may think theirs is behind the curve while other companies have made greater progress, said Sullivan.

Asked to estimate the proportion of companies that have implemented an actual talent management strategy and not merely a statement of goals and objectives, 30 per cent of respondents believe as many as one in three have already done so. Another 14 per cent even estimated that more than one-half of companies by now have a fully realized talent management strategy.

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