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Little Consensus Emerges on Talent Management Strategy

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Little Consensus Emerges on Talent Management Strategy

PHILADELPHIA–  November 8, 2012 – Only 12% of major organizations have a fully implemented talent management strategy, according to a survey of 537 U.S. companies by Right Management, the talent and career management expert within ManpowerGroup.

The survey found that little consensus has developed regarding talent management strategy (see the Infographic). Twenty-five percent said they have created such a strategy but face challenges with its implementation. Similarly, 7% reported having a strategy but described it as merely a statement of objectives and/or philosophy. The largest group (44%) reported that they have a series of separate HR processes which are not integrated as a true talent management strategy. Twelve percent admit to not having any strategy at all.


“Which of the following best describes the current state of your organization’s talent management strategy?"

  • 12% We have a fully implemented talent management strategy. 
  • 25% We have a talent management strategy, but face challenges in its implementation. 
  • 7% We have a talent management strategy, but it’s mainly a statement of objectives and/or philosophy. 
  • 44% We have a series of separate HR processes, but they are not integrated as a true talent management strategy. 
  • 12% We do not have a talent management strategy.

“While 12% of organizations have no talent management strategy at all, it is of equal concern that 76% of organizations face many obstacles preventing them from implementing a talent management strategy, said Owen J. Sullivan, Right Management CEO and President of ManpowerGroup Specialty Brands. “There is a need for companies to commit to a systemic effort to assess and align their talent management strategies in the context of their business strategies and build a pipeline of necessary talent required to succeed. The findings suggest that organizations of all types are struggling with how to address the critical challenge of attracting, developing, and retaining the necessary talent required to meet and execute their business strategy.”

What they must achieve, Sullivan observed, is an inclusive strategy where, among other things, recruitment, assessment, training & development, retention and leadership programs are each closely aligned with the organization's business objectives.  But the survey suggests there is not much agreement on what a talent management strategy ought to be, even though most companies are convinced they should have one, observed Sullivan. “The concept appears to vary from one company to another and putting any such strategy into action is also a problem.”

The survey also explored the obstacles organizations face in implementing a strategy.

“What is the greatest single obstacle to implementing your organization’s talent management strategy?”

  • 18% Insufficient budget or resources 
  • 17% Not enough clarity or focus 
  • 17% Need to balance short-term with long-term needs 
  • 10% Lack of senior management support 
  • 10% Other 
  • 9% Lack of HR resources  
  • 9% Organization culture does not support  
  • 5% Rapidly changing business environment  
  • 4% Lack of tools or technology  

“The lack of clarity and focus suggests that organizations have yet to spend time developing the real business case for a talent management strategy,” said Sullivan. “A disciplined process is needed that reveals the actual and quantifiable risks and trade-offs associated with having or not having a strategy.”

An interesting wrinkle among the data, added Sullivan, is that organizations may think theirs is behind the curve while other companies have made greater progress. Asked to estimate the proportion of companies that have implemented an actual talent management strategy and not merely a statement of goals and objectives, 34% of respondents believe as many as one-in-three have already done so. Another 12% even estimated that more than half of companies by now have a fully realized talent management strategy. “But according to our same survey data, the reality is that far fewer organizations have a real workable strategy.”

Right Management conducted a survey of 537 senior managers and human resource professionals during the first quarter of 2012.

About Right Management

Right Management is the global leader in talent and career management workforce solutions. As the workforce consulting experts within ManpowerGroup, the firm designs and delivers solutions to align talent strategy with business strategy. Expertise spans Talent Assessment, Leader Development, Organizational Effectiveness, Employee Engagement, and Workforce Transition and Outplacement. With offices in over 50 countries, Right Management partners with companies of all sizes – including more than 80% of the Fortune 500 – to help grow and engage their talent, increase productivity and optimize business performance.

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Media contact: Shari Fryer, shari@fryerassociates.com or 970-846-6607.