Extending my definition

Defining Talent Management

Talent management simply signifies the efforts an organisation undertakes to attract individuals, build the capacity of their employees, deploy employees to where there is a need and retain skilled and valuable employees to achieve strategic objectives and future needs of a workplace  (Baqutayan, 2014; Silzer & Dowell, 2010). However, how talent management is defined precisely is highly contested.  Lewis and Heckman (2006) identify that there is a significant lack of clarity regarding the definition, scope and overall goals of talent management.  This diversity in definition, purpose, intent and approach is widely evidenced in the literature (Asplund, 2019; Hoff & Scott, 2016; Khorida & Meliala, 2018; Myung, Loeb, & Horng, 2011; Schiemann, 2014; Silzer & Dowell, 2010; Vaiman & Collings, 2013).  The difference is believed to be primarily caused by the level of inclusivity, focus on potential or performance, development of talent internally compared to external recruitment and systems and processes used within and organisation (Vaiman & Collings, 2013).  Ingram and Glod (2016) identified that the diverse definitions can be framed into four main perspectives; practices and functions related to human resource management; identification and development of valuable competencies of talented employees; employee supply, demand and internal succession planning; and the identification of pivotal positions rather than talent itself.

This diversity in definition should not be seen as a detractor from exploring the principles of talent management or seeking ways to improve talent management systems in the workplace (Boudreau, 2013).  Instead there is suggestion that there is value in exploiting the diversity of definitions that exist (Boudreau, 2013; Dries, 2013).

While there is diversity in definition, there are common themes that are visible across definitions;

  • Talent management is systematic and strategic with the purpose to improve the outcomes and competitiveness of a workplace (CIPD, 2014; Collings & Mellahi, 2009; Hoff & Scott, 2016; Ingram & Glod, 2016; Mishra & Sarkar, 2018; Silzer & Dowell, 2010).
  • It serves the purpose of attracting, developing, deploying and retaining employees (CIPD, 2014; Hoff & Scott, 2016; Khorida & Meliala, 2018; Schiemann, 2014; Silzer & Dowell, 2010).
  • Employees are developed to create a talent pool, through an inclusive approach (all employees) or exclusive approach (identified individuals) (Asplund, 2019; Earley & Jones, 2011; Ingram & Glod, 2016; Roy & Devi, 2017)
  • It involves some form of assessment of an individual’s performance, potential or desired characteristics and attributes (talents) to identify the best fit for a role (Macfarlane, Duberley, Fewtrell, & Powell, 2012; Silzer & Dowell, 2010; Turner, 2018).
  • Practices that form talent management are culturally and contextually specific to workplaces (Collings, Scullion, & Vaiman, 2015; Frost, 2016; Vaiman & Collings, 2013)

For the purpose and intent of this paper, a narrow definition for Talent Management has been developed from the literature to assist in answering the research question.  Talent Management will be defined as a balanced approach to inclusive and exclusive practices to identify (recruit and recommend) teachers with talent, already working within the field of education, to develop a pool of potential school principals.  As this research is specifically aiming to address the growing leadership crisis in schools, this definition intentionally excludes the elements of retention and development once in the role of a principal.  It also deliberately focuses on internal identification, rather than recruitment from external sources as it is uncommon for non-teachers to be competitive for the role of a school principal (Richardson, Watts, Hollis, & McLeod, 2016).

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