In 2009 I embraced opportunity to speak on talent management at the international conference and exposition of the American Society for Training and Development. With my interest piqued, I attended a lecture of the ASTD Talent Development Group. They offered quite a few insights to explain why “integrated talent management” is such a delicate issue.

ASTD’s research showed that HR departments, due primarily to budgetary considerations, are less likely to perceive talent manage as an integrated process, let alone to address it as such. HRD will receive more budget when they have a nice talent development program on offer and career development will receive more funding when they support the organizations’ outliers on carefully laid out career paths.
It seems to me that every HR department caters for a piece of a puzzle, without ever completing the picture.

It’s better together
In my work on talent development and talent management over the past decade I’ve taken the ATD framework for integrated talent management as a foundation. In this framework you see all relevant stakeholders and HR department working together as one coherent team to spot, flourish and retain talent.

integrated talent management

The business benefits to an integrated approach are huge. To offer just one ROI (Return on Investment) insight. Bram Castelein and I recently received our CRP (Certified ROI Professional) certification from the ROI Institute on our ROI study of a talent development program. Our tenet was this: “Talent developed in-house is far cheaper than recruiting it”. We found that the cost of turnover is remarkably consistent across jobs at different pay levels and varies between 16,1 and 20,4% of an employee’s annual salary. Very highly paid jobs and those at the senior or executive levels tend to have disproportionately high turnover costs as a percentage of salary (up to 213%).

How are you doing?
I’d lie to leave you with five impertinent questions to assess the level of integrated thinking in your own organization. How are you measuring up?

1) Which integrated talent management process has been agreed? 
  • A process in which all relevant departments work closely together as a unit, according to clearly defined agreements:
Marketing & Communications
Learning & Development
Performance Management
Compensations & Benefits
Succession Planning
Career Management
Career Development & Coaching
  • At present, an integrated talent management process has not yet been defined
2) Are the main career parths mapped out?
  • Yes, but only for top managers
  • Yes, for all key groups:
Front Office
Back office
Staff (HR etc)
3) How is Return on Investment (ROI) and the impact of Talent Management meassured?
  • By HR
  • By an external party, on behalf of the board
  • Not yet
4) Are the metrics of successful Talent Management known?
  • Yes
  • No, not yet
5) Where does the accountability for Talent Management lie?
  • HR is responsible for execution; the board bears the ultimate responsibility
  • Other:
  • Good point, we haven’t specified this yet.