Queen's University IRC

Has Talent Management Weathered the Economic Storm?


Alan Morantz
Queen’s IRC Thought Leadership Consultant

July 1, 2010

Organizational development and change management more than ever before are being linked to learning and talent development, according to a report recently published by the UK-based CIPD.

“It is clear that organizational development and design will become increasingly important as organizations seek to change, innovate and to link learning to organizational goals,” according to CIPD’s 2010 Learning and Talent Development survey report. But the report also noted that “practitioners are less involved in discussing the design, delivery and impact of learning with other managers. This alignment issue is a key one as L&TD seeks to build its reputation and impact.”

The survey found that for 46 percent of respondents, the major organizational change affecting learning and talent development in the next five years will be a greater integration between coaching, organizational development, and performance management to drive change. For 37 percent, it will be greater responsibility devolved to line managers.

Other findings from the CIPD survey:

  • As a result of the economic downturn, learning and talent development is becoming more focused on value and impact; in other words, doing more with less. “It will be particularly important for professionals to ensure that their L&TD activities are even more closely aligned with business strategy and to be able to assess the return on investment generated.”
  • Almost 60 percent of organizations undertake talent management activities. Among these, half rate such activities as “effective” and only 3 percent consider them “very effective”. The three most effective activities to manage talent are coaching (39 percent), in-house development programmes (32 percent), and high-potential development schemes (31 percent).
  • The three most common ways to evaluate talent management activities are to obtain feedback from line managers (42 percent), to measure the retention of those identified as high-potential (35 percent), and the anecdotal observation of change (35 percent).
  • In terms of leadership skills, the main gaps identified by employers were performance management (setting standards for performance and dealing with underperformance) and leading and managing change.
  • Internships are growing in popularity, partly because employers want to provide a lifeline for talented young people. The results are encouraging. “The fact that a third of firms report higher productivity as a result of their internships is particularly encouraging, given that many interns are new to the workplace and are still in the process of learning new skills.”

About 86 percent of responding organizations (623) had headquarters in the UK and the remainder (101) were based outside the UK.

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