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Seth Godin’s post on Marketing HR suggests changing the name of the department to Talent. I like that. I like it because it separates the routine operations that surround the employment of people from the strategic requirement to attract and retain the calibre of people needed to set an organisation apart.

Like Seth says, a different name (with a different focus and behaviours) will shift what you do and bring about different results.

I have noticed from HR people I coach that there is often a lack of role clarity – and this in turn leads to a focus on the reactive stuff rather than the strategic initiatives which will make a difference. Research carried out by the CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development) in 2006 with 2000 employees across a range of employers found that around a third say that their manager rarely or never discusses their training and development needs with them and rarely or never gives feedback on their performance, and a quarter are rarely or never made to feel their work counts.

The first imperative of a Talent Department would be to ensure that managers know how to recruit well – in other words recognise talent when they see it and know how to nurture it.

When research consistently shows that:

  • 1 in 4 new recruits will resign in the first six months
  • 1 in 5 employees will resign this year
  • Over 50% of people recruited into an organisation will leave within two years
  • 3 in 4 organisations are experiencing employee retention difficulties

Organisations need strategies in place to reduce the cost, time and effort of recruitment and get the best from their employees. So Talent Departments sound like a good idea to me.


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