Why is talent development a major challenge for companies today?

Talent development in companies
April 12th, 2022
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As the labour market becomes increasingly complex, talent management is a highly strategic issue for organisations. The health crisis has further reinforced this conclusion. Companies, supported by human resources, have no choice but to rethink their employee management strategy, with a particular focus on talent development to prepare for the future.

What is ‘talent development’?

As a pillar of strategic human resources management, talent management aims to align an organisation’s skills with its overall strategy. Today, employee development is an essential lever for good talent management in companies. It is flanked by other levers such as employee recruitment and retention with the integration process, development of the employer brand or the remuneration strategy.

Talent development involves identifying the key skills for the future of your organisation and identifying those that already exist within each team in order to take the necessary actions. In view of this information, human resources run learning courses for employees combining their wishes and the company’s needs, organise people reviews and set up effective performance evaluation tools.

At the intersection between career growth, performance management and training pathways, talent development thus plays a major role in companies’ competitiveness.

Talent development in the procurement function

The procurement function, which now occupies a strategic place in a company, is at the heart of talent development issues. While digitalisation is in the process of disrupting business, procurement teams are facing a few additional challenges that are equally important for the company. According to a recent survey by Gartner, 70% of procurement departments face much higher expectations for sustainability, diversity, or innovation than a year ago[1].

Through appropriate training courses, buyers must therefore develop key skills over the next few years such as innovation sourcing, implementation of the responsible procurement strategy, and mastery of new digital solutions.

Brice Malm, a former senior partner at Michael Page specialising in the procurement and supply chain business lines, explains how the evolution of the procurement function depends on talent development: Any transformation will be accompanied by the development of skills associated with new practices. […] The next ten years will see a need to review the training programmes and the culture of buyers in order to adapt them. Procurement departments will have to work closely with the general management and the human resources department to bring about a transformation of the function in view of the company’s ambition.’

The benefits of talent development

Operating in globalised and ultra-competitive markets, companies see employees as an extremely valuable resource. In this sense, talent development has undeniable advantages:

  • Suitability for the needs (and strategy) of the company

As mentioned above, an organisation seeking to develop its talent will identify its skills and training needs, based on its overall strategy. Faced with the rapidly evolving labour market and the accelerating digitalisation of companies, a clear vision of the skills gaps and priorities within each team is needed to prepare for the future.

  • Employee retention

A company that invests in the development of its employees and gives them career prospects will increase their confidence and support in return. This is no small matter, given that 50% of companies believe that maintaining their employees’ motivation and commitment is one of the main challenges for the years to come[2]. While organisations face strong competition in the labour market and witness large waves of resignations around the world, retaining talent and securing loyalty appear to be indispensable.

  • Improving performance

An organisation that strengthens the skills of its employees, particularly through training or coaching, will undoubtedly improve their individual performance. This is a win-win approach: it not only stimulates and values employees who acquire new skills, but also contributes to the overall performance of the organisation and thus to its competitiveness.

  • Building the employer brand

A company that recognises and values its talent will improve its brand image and external attractiveness. A real virtuous circle is put in place, facilitating recruitment. Indeed, employees who feel supported in their career will naturally be inclined to testify positively to their employee experience, for example through social media or a company evaluation.

Talent development will thus create value for both employees and the company. This approach towards employees also forms part of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), which contributes to developing human capital. For the procurement function, this is just as important a challenge as that of implementing a responsible procurement policy.

[2] Central Test, 2021 trends in talent assessment and development, 2021