Brandon Hall Group recently released the findings of their latest survey on leadership skills, and I was interested to see an almost exact divide in the results, with the organisations surveyed scoring 35.7%, 33.7% and 30.7% respectively for poor, average and exceptional talent management practices.

Whilst there is a significant increase in organisations rating their talent management as exceptional or above average, up 21% from last year, it’s clear there are still growing concerns amongst today’s leaders around attracting, retaining and developing future leaders and combating organisation-wide skill shortages effectively.

Hays have recently reported that two-thirds of organisations have to look externally for key talent to meet changing skills needs in-house. But what does this mean in the long-term? Are we neglecting the development of internal staff? And is ‘buying’ new talent really sustainable?

Even after sourcing talent externally, organisations need to continue developing staff in order to combat future skill gaps, yield better business results, and differentiate themselves in the marketplace. Investing in learning and development opportunities will not only uncover hidden talent within your organisation, but can help build a skilled and flexible, change-ready workforce from within. So with this in mind, here are three top tips for creating a successful talent management strategy that really delivers value:

Define to align

Alignment is reported as the third greatest barrier to effective leadership development, behind limited budget and limited time to participate in development activities. A lack of clarity often stands in the way of aligning development practices to business strategy, and so it’s essential that organisations define the skills, experience and capabilities required of their future leaders in order to properly align talent management strategy to long-term business goals. Doing so will not only ensure you proactively manage skill gaps, but will help to future-proof your organisation.

Upskill your coaches

A recurring leadership development need, and one is which is becoming increasingly critical, is the upskilling of leaders as effective development coaches. 64% of organisations believe that developing leaders to be effective coaches is the single greatest opportunity for improving and sustaining excellence in employee performance. Building a high-performing, motivated workforce starts from within, so ensuring the right culture and effective development processes are in place for managers to filter down essential skills is vital for retaining talent and managing widespread change.

Look for potential

Growing numbers of organisations now consider recruiting candidates who may not necessarily have key experience, but are recognised as showing significant potential. Leadership development is a strategic and long-term business imperative; taking this approach and equipping inexperienced but capable leaders with the skills required by the organisation can help build a stronger leadership pipeline. However, skill gaps can be critical, so it’s essential that they are addressed quickly and effectively before they impact upon business success.

Whilst an increase in headcount will in many cases be unavoidable if businesses are to meet growing demand, it is important that the focus remains firmly on developing a skilled workforce in-house. Not only will you develop a workforce capable of managing periods of future business transformation, but by building a reputation as an employer who invests in the development of their workforce, you’ll see key talent come to you.

Is it time to reassess your current talent management strategy? Comment below, Tweet us @Kallidus or visit our LinkedIn page.

Find out how Kallidus can help at

Brandon Hall Group (2015). State of Leadership Development Study: Top Findings
CIPD/Hays (2015). Resourcing and Talent Planning Survey Report
Brandon Hall Group (2015). State of Performance Management Study

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