What Exactly is Talent Management?

Editor’s Note: Dr. John Sullivan has been a provocateur and strategist in the field of human resources and talent management for over 30 years. His specialty is HR strategy and designing world class HR systems and tools for Fortune 200 firms, and he’s never been shy about telling it like it is.

That’s why TLNT asked him to share his thinking in a video series titled “$#*!@ Dr. John Sullivan Says!” Look for these videos twice a week here at TLNT.

Today’s topic: What is talent management?

Dr. John defines talent as having “extraordinary skills,” but as he points out, there are many people who don’t have extraordinary talent. “So,” he adds, “you need to prioritize how HR, or talent management, handles top talent, top performers, game changers, innovators.”

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What organizational functions does he put into the talent management basket? For Dr. John, they include:

  • retention;
  • recruiting;
  • development;
  • internal movement; and (sometimes),
  • performance management.

The key, Dr. John says, “is you bring in good people, you keep good people, you make them better, and then you move them correctly.” And, he talks about a company that is renowned for its best practices when it comes to talent management.

John Hollon is Editor-at-Large at ERE Media and was the founding Editor of TLNT.com. A longtime newspaper, magazine, and business journal editor, John has deep roots in the talent management space. He's the former Editor of Workforce Management magazine and workforce.com, served as Editor of RecruitingDaily, and was Vice President for Content at HR technology firm Checkster. An award-winning journalist, John has written extensively about HR, talent management, leadership, and smart business practices, including for the popular Fistful of Talent blog. Contact him at johnhollon@ere.net, connect with him on LinkedIn, or follow him on Twitter @johnhollon.


2 Comments on “What Exactly is Talent Management?

  1. The field of talent management continues to hold on to the same threadbare paradigm. It is not focused correctly and is headed by HR, which is a mistake. Focusing on just “top talent” is a mistake and very limiting to the company, in my opinion. I have much more to add, but I will stop here.

  2. Our New Talent Management Network (www.newtmn.com) State of Talent Management report will be out in late April and define what TM practitioners at 110 companies believe is included in TM. Hint: TM isn’t talent acquisition and it isn’t OD.

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