DOD’s blog: Talent management has changed

How can benefits managers support the new world order of talent?

Talk turned to talent in a major way this week.

Not least because both the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and The Economist ran (different) talent conferences in the past few days. In the CIPD’s case the last time it ran such an event was five years ago.

Clearly there is an upswing in the perception of the importance of talent in business success.

Speaking at The Economist conference on Thursday, Jean Martin, executive director, human resources practices at the HR Leadership Council, pointed out that high-performing companies spend much more time discussing talent than low-performing ones. Top performers are far more aware that talent in the business is closely aligned to greater success.In fact, Martin said, some companies are so focused on talent that they have changed the name of the executive compensation committee (or remuneration committee) to be called the talent committee.

The need to align the talent of a business leadership board with its future growth strategy was beautifully demonstrated in an excellent case study from the French engineering firm Thales at the CIPD conference on Tuesday.

Thales is aware it can only truly be a global growth company if it’s leadership team begins a journey to be more diverse itself to represent the people and nationalities of the markets it operates in.

Currently, it is only at the start of this journey, but it knows where it needs to go.

Another shift is the thinking around what ‘talent’ means. A more dated view is that it is restricted to the high fliers in an organisation. The 2014 view is that encompasses all staff of all levels, backgrounds, educational levels and skills.

This shift will help companies to advance not just the privileged few that fit into a particular mould, but will also encourage a more diverse talent pool to come to the fore and be the future leadership of businesses.

There is a clear role for benefits managers to help support the talent strategies coming from the board and HR directors or talent management teams.

Flexible-working policies and benefits targeting social groups that tend to be marginalised are part of the mix that are needed. 

Clever thinking and imagination are needed, but reward is a powerful tool to change culture.

Let’s use it to keep all talent, create diversity of talent and drive business success.

Debi O’Donovan


Employee Benefits 

Twitter: @DebiODonovan