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ATD Blog

How Do You Define Talent Management?


Fri May 08 2009


An organization's ability to integrate and manage talent effectively has never been more essential than in today's volatile business market. Unfortunately, for many organizations simply defining talent management is difficult. Previous research on talent management rarely underlies a common agreed-upon definition, leading ASTD/i4cp to conduct a study on Talent Management Practices and Opportunities.

While most leaders do not agree on one narrow definition of talent management, they do seem to share an idea about the basic parameters of the subject. After careful identification of the variables comprising talent management, ASTD/i4cp defined talent management in this way:

  • A holistic approach to optimizing human capital, which enables an organization to drive short- and long-term results by building culture, engagement, capability, and capacity through integrated talent acquisition, development, and deployment processes that are aligned to business goals.

Overall, organizational leaders who took part in the survey found the definition to be accurate. More than eight of 10 survey respondents reported that they agreed with the ASTD definition to a "high" or "very high" extent, and only 2 percent reported they either agreed to a small extent or didn't agree with it at all. This confirms ASTD's definition as exceptionally serviceable for a topic on which it is hard to find common agreement.

In a white paper by ASTD, Talent Management Defined, we take the opportunity to highlight some of the key findings in the ASTD/i4cp Talent Management Practices and Opportunities Study. ASTD has devoted attention to talent management because most organizations still lack a comprehensive talent management strategy, and a better understanding of the term is needed to meet the demands of the contemporary knowledge-driven workplace.

Click for more information on the ASTD/i4cp Talent Management Practices and Opportunities Study, or the Talent Management Defined white paper.

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