Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Teams Can Rescue Talent Management

Burbach and Royle (2010) emphasized the point that firms have either too many employees for available positions (talent rich) or they have a short-fall of talent (talent poor). Additionally, Higgins (2009) pointed out that companies are “struggling to balance the urgent need for cost-cutting with the longer-term, loftier-seeming notions of talent retention” (para. 1). So how does a company provide the right balance of having the right combination of diverse qualified workers on hand and a talented pool of resources to recruit from when needed?

Alan Bourne, director of Talent Q, identified four points for adapting Talent Management in tougher times:

1) Share information and keep data.

2) Make the business case.

3) Revive the concept of teamwork.

4) Get it right the first time (Higgins, 2009).

Of these four points I would highlight point number three as the best method to develop Talent Management, 'Revive the concept of teamwork'. What better tool to use under the umbrella of Talent Management, providing individual and group development through the use of teams. Teams can help focus on the skills and the abilities of the individual (training & development), provide mentoring opportunities for team members to show their managerial potential (management development), and provide a means to share knowledge from more experienced team members to newer, less experienced, team members (succession planning, knowledge management).

Organizational entities, and groups/teams that operate within organizational entities, learn through the actions and interactions between people in teams (Edmondson, 2002). Senge (1990) identified the team as the fundamental learning unit in an organization. Teams can be the “microcosm for learning throughout the organization. Insights gained are put into action. Skills developed can propagate to other individuals and to other teams” (Senge, 1990, p. 219). Teams can be the less expensive option for organizations to practice Talent Management - providing an adequate supply of qualified individuals, those individuals who learned from their experiences as team members.


Burbach, R. & Royle, T. (2010). Talent on demand?; Talent management in the German and Irish subsidiaries f a US multinational corporation. Personnel Review, 39(4), 414. Doi: 10.1108/00483481011045399

BNET (2011), CBS Interactive Business Network. Retrieved from http://www.bnet.com/topics/Talent+Management, retrieved on 8/16/2011.

Edmondson, A. C. (2002). The local and variegated nature of learning in organizations: A group level perspective. Organization Science, 13(2). 128-146.

Higgins, J. (2009). Talent and teamwork fall prey to cost-cutting. BNET, the CBS interactive business network. Retrieved from http://www.bnet.com/blog/sterling-performance/talent-and-teamwork-fall-prey-to-cost-cutting/987?tag=mantle_skin;content

Senge, P. M. (1990). The fifth discipline: The art & practice of the learning organization. New York, NY: Doubleday.

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