The people agenda has certainly seen a lot of changes in the last year. In fact, I would argue that in the future 2014 will be seen as the year that strategic talent management really began. Throughout the last twelve months there have been numerous innovations in people attraction and retention strategies – just take the Barclays Life Skills campaign, for example.

But perhaps more importantly, 2014 has been the year in which executive teams really began to recognise and understand the true value of talent. Indeed, a report from Oxford Economics revealed that people management topped the agenda for CEOs in 2014 – a real step in the right direction for HR professionals if you ask me.

In order to achieve this, innovative talent attraction initiatives have been developed, effective workforce plans have been drawn up for many organisations and more has been done to engage with – and ultimately retain – employees. However, while this progress is certainly positive, future developments will be limited as initiatives have too often occurred in silos.

For example, it is quite common to see hiring activity taking place without the consideration of succession plans. In these cases, potential talent could be missing out on progression opportunities and organisations could be wasting money hiring and training new employees when they have the skills readily available within the business.

What needs to happen to take talent management strategies to the next level is for HR Directors to really pull all of this activity together and connect every element of existing people strategies. While this may seem to be a daunting task, in my view it’s crucial to support the hard work that has already gone into talent management initiatives.  And with CEOs now recognising the real value of having the right people in the business, they will be turning to HR Directors to see what is next for company talent strategies.

Creating a joined up approach will also aid professionals in their on-going quest to demonstrate return on investment to the board. Taking the example of joining up succession plans and hiring activity, by aligning the two, it is possible for HR teams to demonstrate money saved due to internal promotion activity.

Progress in talent management is well and truly underway, but we can’t stall future success by becoming complacent. There is still more that can be done and in my view this joined up approach is the next step in the evolution of people strategies.

What are your views? Do you think talent management needs greater alignment across the board?

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