KPMG research reveals many organisations take narrow approach to talent management

New research from KPMG International reveals that many organisations take a narrow approach to talent management — one that is steadily weakening their competitiveness and agility.

The top 10 risks identified by survey respondents focus primarily on capacity and capability and are associated with building the skills an organisation needs, as well as maintaining the size of the workforce needed to deliver its business plan. However, the survey also revealed respondents’ apparent lack of concern and interest in connecting and engaging with their talent, as well as enabling and encouraging collaboration.

Mark Spears, KPMG’s global head of people and change, said: ‘Organisations are being driven to implement short-term point solutions, ignoring the need to configure their talent management efforts in a broader, more sustainable way that aligns more closely with their organisations’ strategic needs.’

In the report — entitled ‘Time for a more holistic approach to talent risk’ — respondents ranked the risk of their ‘business leader inability to engage with, motivate and nurture business critical talent’ as a top-10 critical risk, yet placed it in the top-10 risks that were being least managed.

‘Going forward, talent managers must isolate and address a much broader array of talent risks,’ added Spears. ‘They need to take into account a critical need to connect their people to each other and to leadership, to forecast and manage costs and to move away from an approach to compliance that sees line managers simply ticking the box on performance reviews – or failing to conduct them at all.’

Other key findings from the KPMG survey:

  • Only a third of respondents (33 per cent) felt their business unit leaders were incentivised to share talent across organisations for the benefit of the business and the talent.
  • Only 40 per cent of respondents said they spend two or more days per year with their senior leadership teams formally reviewing talent and more than 20 per cent stated that they lacked a formal talent review process all together. More than 58 per cent said their leaders take no action — or lose momentum — once talent reviews have concluded.
  • Only 53 per cent of organisations with fewer than 3,000 employees felt their leadership took an active role in the coaching process. This compares with 70 per cent of respondents working at organisations with more than 10,000 employees.
  • ‘Consumer goods’ was the only industry to elevate candidate salary expectations for top talent above concerns over recruiting top talent. Energy leaders noted that skills and capabilities required by the business not being developed was a top-five risk.
  • Managers failed to include ‘a lack of workforce diversity’ within their foremost-perceived risks relating to how well they were managing their organisations’ people. When it came to the talent risks managers are actually working to reduce and mitigate, diversity again failed to appear – and appeared again in the list of challenges managers were least likely to be working to remedy.

Spears said: ‘Until talent managers trade the war for talent’s one-size-fits-all mentality in favour of a more finely tuned and comprehensively planned approach, they will remain stuck in an endless struggle to pursue and retain a high-performing few, all the while ignoring the needs of the many and the whole.’