Talent Management 3.0: why 3 years can make a big difference - Part 1

In the aftermath of the crisis of 2008-2011, CEOs today have again ranked Talent Management on top of their management agendas. The business drivers for their actions are clear:

  • Economic growth will resume, sooner or later
  • Demographic shifts worldwide will lead to a shrinking workforce

Furthermore, almost every organisation today operates in a more complex and competitive environment. Therefore, in order to grow, there is a need to re-visit the concept of talents.

In 2010, Silvan Becker and I asked ourselves "Will post-economic crisis Talent Management be different or the same as pre-crisis Talent Management?" We strongly believe it will be drastically different. While there may not be a revolution in sight, talent management will certainly undergo a significant evolution, leading to Talent Management 3.0.

Talent Management prior to 2008
What did Talent Management look like prior to 2008? Up till the late 1990s, Talent Management followed the proven practice of succession planning between the masters and their chosen apprentices. While being groomed for the job, the apprentices absorbed the knowledge, skills and experiences passed down by the wise old guard. This was Talent Management 1.0 for both professionals and knowledge workers.

What was most significant in Talent Management 2.0?
After the 20th century drew to a close, human capital became widely accepted as THE most importance asset for knowledge organisations. As a result, many organisations jumped onto the bandwagon to set up Talent Management programmes to attract, place, development and retain talent within their organisations. These were Talent Management 2.0 programmes, which included:

  • Translating business strategies to include the "need for talent"
  • Assessing or identifying talent (or high potentials) within organisations
  • Establishing specific talent recruitment programmes to prevent "brain drain"
  • Offering talent executive education and/or training programmes
  • Placing talent in strategically important positions
  • Offering special career tracks developed for the talent

The most striking and noteworthy drivers of most Talent Management 2.0 programmes were:

  • Top-down approach, usually resulting from business strategies
  • Organisation-centric, arising from and meeting the needs of the organisation

The economic crisis of 2008-2009 jammed the brakes on these drivers of Talent Management 2.0 programmes. Together with wide-ranging reductions in worldwide budgets, career and training opportunities, the talent decided to stay put. Most adopted a wait-and-see attitude during this period of uncertainty.

In the next post, we will look at the trends that Talent Management 3.0 will give form to.

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