Module Two: Defining Talent

All talent is not artistic. Talent is any ability or skill at which a person is successful. It is important for leaders of organizations to find and develop talented employees. Employees who have the specific skill sets that the company requires are profitable and help drive the business forward.

What Is Talent Management?

The Human Resource department typically monitors talent management. Since the late 1990s, the focus on employee management has changed. The high cost of turnover combined with poor engagement, competition for skilled labor, and succession planning has led to a greater interest in managing talent. There are four stages to talent management.

  1. Assess: Determine what your company needs and the skills employees need to have.
  2. Recruit: Search for and recruit the right employees for the organization
  3. Develop: Train and develop employees to promote and stay long-term.
  4. Coordinate: Align the goals of the employees with the goals of the company.


Types of Talent

Companies need a variety of talent. It is important to match skill sets with positions, but it is equally important to find people who have natural talent and specific personality traits to provide balance and work with the other team members. There are four basic types of talent.

  • Innovator: Innovators are good at finding innovative solutions to problems and monitoring the market trends. They keep companies from missing opportunities.
  • Visionary: Visionaries encourage change. They are always looking to the future and focus on new ideas. Visionaries drive the business forward.
  • Practical: Practical employees manage and implement different applications. They focus on seeing a task through to completion. They ensure that a job is done.
  • Relationship Expert: People who listen well and communicate ideas effectively are able to develop relationships. These employees are important to create a functional team.


Skills and Knowledge Defined

Knowledge of a subject or field is necessary in order to develop certain skills. Knowledge comes from education and skills come with experience and training. For example, someone can have knowledge of legal requirements for a particular subject but not be skilled to apply that knowledge. Skills and knowledge are both required for a job.

Skill Examples:

  • Math
  • Typing
  • Editing
  • Clerical
  • Phone
  • Speaking

Every position requires a different skill and knowledge set. Employees should already have a certain amount of knowledge and skills when they are hired, but skills and knowledge should be advanced with training on the job. For example, employees should have basic knowledge of the computer programs that the company uses as well as the skills to use the program. Knowledge of policies and procedures, however, must be trained.

Case Study

P.F. Chang’s expanded quickly in 10 years. Established in 1993, there were over 127 branches by 2004. As personal contact became more difficult to keep, talent management, including succession planning, became a goal of the organization. After implementing talent management strategies, the organization saw a 13 percent increase in sales and a 32 percent increase in profitability.