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Talent Management is a Human Resources discipline that aims to attract, develop and retain high potential profiles within a company. These talents are considered as the keys to the growth and competitiveness of an organization, they are 8 times more productive than other employees.

Faced with both international competition and local labor market challenges in recruiting future leaders, multinationals are investing heavily in talent management. 

Talent management is becoming a state of mind that tends to apply to all employees of a company. So how do you differentiate between a practice dedicated to a certain segment of the workforce and managing all employees?

To answer this question, we will define the modern concept of talent and then illustrate the two main differences between these two HR activities.

We will also outline a framework you can adopt to optimize your investments.

As a preamble: how to define "a talent"?

Talent in the broadest sense

Talents are employees whose know-how (skills technical) and behavioural skills (skills behavioural) exceed the average of all employees.

According to a study conducted in 2020 by ANDRH on talent management in French companies, nearly 80% of respondents identify talent by the combination of their potential and performance. Other criteria based more on the notion of "collective" are now appearing in the definition of a talent. These include adherence to a company's culture and values. A talent is therefore a committed, motivated and motivating person. It brings together the following assets:

  • A great capacity to learn for himself
  • Advanced abilities to pass on knowledge, the desire to help others progress. 

The example of managerial talent

The book War of Talent, published in 2001 and written by Ed Michaels, Helen Handfield-Jones and Beth Axelrod, focuses on talent as a manager. The authors identify talent as a combination of several behaviors:

  • A sharp strategic mind
  • A leadership capacity
  • Superior understanding of complexities
  • An emotional intelligence
  • Communication skills
  • An ability to attract and inspire other talented people
  • An entrepreneurial instinct
  • A capacity to produce results

What are the most sought-after managerial skills today?

Our article"The Top 5 new assets for managers" will help you select the right individuals and train them afterwards.

How to differentiate between Talent Management and People Management?

First difference: Elitist vision vs. inclusive vision

The elitist vision

It comes from the still vivid reminiscences of the scarcity context described in the book "War of Talent". 

The scarcity of talent resulting from the advent of fierce competition has brought to the forefront elitist notions of "top performers" and "high value-added or highly skilled people". Not every employee is necessarily a talent and there are as many motivations, ambitions and assets within a company as there are employees. So should talent management always focus on certain individuals? The difference between these two approaches lies in the choice between the inclusive or the elitist option. Statistically speaking, the option chosen by the majority of companies is the elitist one, which seems to offer the highest return on investment.

This concept is tempered today by a persistent disengagement of employees: only 7% declare themselves "committed".

The boom in resignations in the first quarter of 2022 with 520,000 people resigning is one of the consequences.

Talent Management is deploying a less elitist vision to progressively involve all employees in the minds of HR teams, and to focus on valuing and mobilizing each skill.

Do the values of adherence to the company culture, commitment, ability to learn, develop people and cooperate take precedence over tangible results in the role?

The inclusive vision

It implies that the company strives to build HR policies that recognize and value the diversity of talents of all individuals. By highlighting and recognizing the implicitskills that characterize each individual, this management model can therefore contribute more to professional and personal development. The rapid evolution of professions gives rise to numerous reconversions. This gives employees the opportunity to make use of previously unused skills skills, or to acquire new ones through reskilling schemes.

As such, you may be inspired by our article on the new opportunities to rise in skills .

As a result, a majority of HRDs believe that talent management policy now concerns all employees (compared to 44% of employees in 2017).

We will also outline a framework you can adopt to optimize your investments.

Second difference: the need for individualization of internal paths

According to a McKinsey report, the number one factor for disengagement in 2021 and 2022 is the lack of visibility on career prospects (41%). A career path is built on 3 elements:

  • The skills currently available
  • Individual appetites and aspirations
  • The skills of the future identified by the company

Personalize career opportunities

Within Neobrain, talents can visualize all of the company's jobs according to the proximity between the skills required, those they possess and the skills they wish to develop. Talents can thus build a unique career plan based on the skills to be acquired and associate it with a retroplanning.

career plan, example of a trajectory on the Neobrain platform
Potential career path, options to view each position, required skills and proximity to current skills .

Carry out a tailor-made accompaniment of the trainings

Talent expectations are to benefit from training dedicated to the skills they wish to acquire and no longer from compulsory training in areas they do not appreciate: tailor-made training is now the norm. 

At Neobrain, each training component is associated with a skill and an acquired level. This way, not only can the talent find the training that suits him/her, but his/her manager or HR team can also suggest training that is adapted to the skills to be influenced.

Personalize internal opportunities

Talent is characterized by its thirst for learning and often for exposure. This is why Neobrain provides a platform of internal opportunities. These include both permanent positions and one-off projects. This way, employees can consider a move to permanent positions and get involved, or learn through additional assignments related to their professional project.

All opportunities gathered in a Talent Marketplace
All opportunities gathered in a Talent Marketplace

Third difference: the need for intelligent HR solutions

Today, the rate of adoption of management solutions such as payroll, expense reports, annual reviews or learning management systems has increased considerably. What talent demands now is a seamless integration of each of these aspects into one intelligent platform. It is no longer conceivable to have to open one software to meet performance objectives and then another to consider training support: the two communicate thanks to the exploitation of data and artificial intelligence.

This Smart Data is therefore accompanied by an interconnected HRIS ecosystem, such as that offered by Neobrain through its Marketplace.

To conclude: Talent Management or the synthesis of HR best practices

This specialty is partly responsible for the greatest successes of companies, especially those in the new technology sector (Google, Facebook, Apple). 

By hiring and retaining talent, a company can significantly outpace its competitors and create barriers to entry. 

Talent Management is therefore the innovative area of Human Resources in terms of managing a company's employees. Among the areas most involved in talent management, we find, in order of priority

  1. The development of skills
  2. Performance evaluation
  3. Talent acquisition

While employee management can be summed up in the global notions of career, mobility, performance or training, we can say that Talent Management is a true state of mind where personalization is central. A successful Talent Management strategy allows a company to stand out in a competitive market, and more globally, contributes to its great success.

Defining the characteristics of a talent for a given company, knowing how to acquire it, develop it and finally retain it, are activities carried out in concert; AI is a lever that accompanies the HR team throughout this process.

Neobrain is recognized for the relevance of its technology and its adaptation to the corporate culture, read more on our page "AI and talent management".