Dollars and Sense: Talented people are competitive edge

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The time-worn, Our people are our most important asset&8221; comments that show up in many public company annual reports this time of year is actually today&8217;s new business reality.

Whether you are a manager in a Fortune 500 company or you run your own small business, your employees should be your most significant business asset.

Unfortunately, generally accepted accounting practices do not yet provide a method for assigning a realistic value to human capital assets that can be reflected on a company&8217;s balance sheet.

That point aside, organizations of all sizes are finally beginning to understand that winning in today&8217;s highly competitive world can be accomplished in large part by focusing on the quality of the organization&8217;s human capital.

The term &8220;talent management&8221; is often used to describe this new focus on the people side of business.

Talent Management is defined simply as the methods, processes and systems that an organization uses to hire, develop and retain talented employees. In most organizations, talent management starts with the recruiting process and extends into the way that employees join the organization. Once onboard, talent management processes consider the ways that employees receive training and developmental opportunities.

The identification and development of high potential employees, those who may possess the talent and skills to move into high level leadership roles, is another critical role of the talent management process. Other major aspects of talent management include retention of high performing employees, performance management, compensation systems and workforce planning.

Enlightened organizations expend significant time and effort in developing and executing their talent management strategy. This is critical since talent management activities must be effectively connected with the objectives and strategies of the organization. Organizations that get talent management understand this and ensure that their senior executives are driving the organization&8217;s talent management effort.

In future articles, we will examine the key components of a successful talent management process