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May 2011
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TD Magazine

What Are You Waiting For?

"For companies that are truly competitors in the knowledge economy, what was good enough performance yesterday is rarely good enough today, and will almost never be good enough tomorrow. For most organizations, the best way to meet this challenge is to become human capital - centric, to focus on making talent their most important source of competitive advantage."

- Edward E. Lawler III, author of Talent: Making People Your Competitive Advantage

The term "talent management" has been around for a while, but many in the industry are still confused about what the term encompasses, how to implement it in their companies, and who owns it.

We've all heard about "the war for talent" and the claim that "people are a company's most competitive advantage," but that hasn't changed the urgency of creating an integrated talent management strategy that includes recruitment, succession planning, performance management, leadership development, professional development, engagement, compensation and rewards, and high-potential employee development.

Many learning professionals regard talent management as a term for leadership development and succession planning, and a recent ASTD-i4cp study finds that many organizations are not integrating talent management into their operations, let alone measuring the results in meaningful ways. The recession has forced employee engagement and performance to the forefront because as the belief has been, "people are a company's most important asset."

So if that's true, then the question that Pat Galagan and Kevin Oakes posed in their feature on page 44 looms large: "While research clearly shows that functions such as performance management are most easily integrated with learning and development, why is it that so few companies actually do integrate them?"

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Who owns the components for talent management in your organization? What challenges or roadblocks are preventing your organization from integrating a talent strategy that starts when an employee is hired and follows that employee through his years at the organization?

There needs to be a culture shift in most organizations toward an integrated talent management strategy because knowledge workers are the heart of all organizations. It is time to create a strategy that will develop, deploy, engage, and retain employees with the right skills and abilities to lead your company into the next decade and beyond.

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Paula Ketter

Editor, T+D

pketter@astd.org

About the Author

Paula Ketter is ATD's content strategist. Previously, she served as editor of ATD's periodicals.

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