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Carole Tansley mentioned the word talent was widely used for the past thousands year which may give different meaning on different location, ethnicity and timeframe. Before looking in depth about talent management, it would be best to look into the definition of “talent” through etymological study of the word “talent”. The theory of etymology stated that every word has its own historical origin and the meanings that could change over time. Most of the words are taken from other languages which may derive from different region, community and era.
In ancient Babylonian, the word talent was first defined as quantity of mass, which was also used by Greek, Assyrians, Romans and the ancients’ peoples. Later it became denomination of mass and money, wherein one talent of silver is equivalent 26 kilograms which is equivalent to RM 32, 990. Talent was also first mentioned in English language through the English Bible. In ancient Hebrews, talent was mentioned in Matthew 25:14-30 about the Parable of The Talents where the master entrusted his property to his servants each with five, two and one talents according to their ability. The version of this verses in Greek uses the word “talent” but in the New English Bible it uses the word “capital”. Thus in our era today, Human Resource people refers human capital which is equivalent to human talent.
This usage of word continues to evolve from 13th century as preference or nature and characteristic of a person; in 15th century gift or skill to a person; in 17th century as natural capacity and capability and ability of myriad kinds which may include cognitive and intellectual power and abilities; and lastly in 19th century is viewed as individual talent, endowment, ability and aptitude.
A word which was firstly used as a measurement of weight and monetary evolved and eventually gains new denotation, which proves to be true for the past centuries as a person who demonstrates special ability or aptitude whether mentally or physically. This makes it more interesting to make distinct every individuals skill as a capital and to tell apart from something which is just technical or simple skills. In Concise Oxford Dictionary (1990), it defines talent as natural ability to do something well, and Cambridge Advanced Learner Dictionary (2003), detonate it as a natural ability to be good at something, especially without being taught.
Older perspective of talent management views it as Human Resource processes which are integrated with one another. However, talent management initiatives secure adequate valuable, talented workforces to fill the right post at the right time. This can ensure them to attain and retain its competitive advantage.
It is simple to understand the fundamental of talent management as it requires recruiting the right workforces for the right vacancies. Despite of the simple fundamental, a lot of organizations placed great effort to search and retain talent to meet their business objectives.
The Times (2007) mentioned a point where to have an effective talent management initiatives it needs to be linked with the organizational and business cultures, goals and state of affairs.
The beginning of Talent Management
Talent management development was top charted on Harvard Business review in year 2008 in which the 1880s was seen to be the starting point of this talent management development. It further mentions the common initiatives used in the year 1950s are the foundation of what modern talent management is in these days. The concept has not been changing despite the rapid changes of business environment which had shifted significantly since the year 1950s. After about 40 years, changes that come gradually were the lack of expertise and knowledgeable workers. Thus, more efforts were placed on finding, building and retaining these talented staff which becomes more crucial and challenging in year 1990s.
The term talent management became prominent in early 90s which integrates the rising converge in the management of Human Resource which relates to the strategic planning and management of their workforces particularly the higher leaders in the organization. McKinsey & Company, a consulting firm company carried out a research on Talent Management in year 1997. The finding discovered war for talent existed.
Well-developed human resources and capital will bring better effectiveness and efficiency of an organization. Since then, organizations are competing with each other on the talents of their employees as being its competitive advantage of having skilled and talent workers in their organization. These show the need for managing talent within an organization to be more successful than other organizations and businesses. The management of the organization became certain if they employ the top-notch workforces, it will distinguish their company from other competitors.
However, this war for talent which began to subside during the global economic crisis and lean time will soon be intensified again in near future to attract, build up, motivate and maintain the talents as the global economy begin to stabilize. Graying workforces, generational differences and reducing population of skilled workers, and increasing demand of skilled leaders and workforces would push talent management as one of the company’s initiatives and top priorities in order for the company to sustain. One of the main initiatives many organizations adapt is to keep their most talented workers working for their organization during the economic crisis and lean times.
Hunting for talent was certainly not an easy task. Corporate Executive Board (CEB) of 2005 mentioned in their report on the Economist, in the last 12 months, the qualities of workers who filled the vacancies had dropped significantly by 10%. The time taken for them to get the right person for the post had also increased from 37 days previously to 51 days.
Foreseeing the challenges in getting the right person for the right tasks at the right time, organizations began to increase their talent management initiatives in their HR practices. Organizations realize the need to recruit, to develop and retain its talented staff and contributed to the investment of energy and financial towards their organization human capital.
Careers which focuses on talent management had became more distinguished after the global crisis. In between year 2009-2011, New Talent Management Network (NTMN) carried out a survey in corporate talent management departments on type of activities involved in talent management with the indication of development, succession planning and high potential management as the key activities compared to the recruitment of talent and performance management. Through the survey as well, it was realized that compensation was not closely related function of talent management.
Many organizations placed huge effort of recruitment but less focused on training and developing the talented workforces to remain in the organization and become the valuable asset of the company. Due to this, it would be best for companies to develop on their talent management system widely as it is not just the human resource department responsibility to recruit and retain their workforces but rather everyone departments line managers responsibility to develop their subordinates in order to see skills being developed to become real talent that brings competitive advantage to the organization. Managing talent will also relate closely to how a company manages the knowledge in the organization in order for them to receive clear direction of organizational objectives and goals. When the talents are clear of their organizational goals and objectives, able to personalize it, it can make them become more effective, increasing the efficiency of the organization as a whole.
Talent management initiatives can be facilitated by using technology such as Human Resource Information Systems or Human Resource Management Systems. It provides support technically for talent management strategies.
Talent management programmes is viewed as a vital approach reasoned the HR professionals. As not many organization are putting talent management into practices, only 5% of organizations are pioneering talent management initiatives in their organization which includes the IBM, Rolls-Royce, Whirlpool and BT. This is based on the research done by US research firm, Bersin & Associates.
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