28% of organisations do not have a definition of talent reveals a new study from the CIPD entitled “Attitudes towards Employability and Talent”.
Employers’ views of employability and talent
In practice, talent management – processes of attracting, developing and retaining people – is recognised as a source of competitive advantage in the context of the current demographic trends and patchy availability of skills in home markets.
Yet, the very definition of ‘talent’ lacks rigour. Sometimes, ‘talent’ is used as a euphemism for ‘people’ – anyone working for an organisation, and, therefore, having potential to make a difference to organisational performance.
Others apply the term to denote the organisational ‘elites’ – workers with highest potential to progress to and perform in business-critical roles.
In human resource management, talent is described through the level of value added to an organisation. Talented workers are then the ones who possess such capital and/ or can make themselves useful in a business context.
In contrast, educational psychology views talent as excellence in a particular area of knowledge and skills, with less focus on how that is applied in practice.
Already these two definitions give potentially mixed advice when investing in talent management and development activities.
In a survey of HR practitioners conducted for the report, only 22% of respondents said their organisation had a formal definition of ‘talent’ as part of their strategy.
Encouragingly, a further 42% suggested that there is at least an informal agreement of what is understood by the concept.
Yet, almost three in ten practitioners (28%) admitted to having no definition, despite having a strategy in place for the organisation and its people.
This was more likely in the voluntary (45%) and in the public (37%) sectors, compared with organisations in the private sector (24%). Large organisations (31%) were significantly more likely than SMEs (8%) to have a formal definition of talent.
About half of all respondents (499) then provided their definition of talent in an openended format as follows
Line managers were asked the same question. To discover their answers and to read more download the study.