14 The Contribution of Talent Management to Organization Success

David G. Collings


Talent management has arguably brought issues around the management of human resources (HR) to the agenda of chief executives and the C-Suite to a far greater degree than has been the case in the past. High-profile advocates such as Jack Welch at General Electric (GE) and consultancies such as McKinsey have lead the discourse around the “War for Talent.” They have argued that an organizational culture where talent issues are to the fore are those that are most likely to thrive in the talent economy. Notwithstanding the global economic crisis of 2008, talent issues remain critical in the organizations globally.

For example, a survey of CEOs in 2012 identified developing the leadership and talent pipeline as a key priority of 66 percent of respondents (PWC, 2012). Similarly, a study conducted at Cornell University identified talent as the top priority on CEOs’ agenda for HR (Wright, Stewart, & Moore, 2011).

There is very limited empirical evidence of the link between talent and performance. However, a study by Ernst and Young (2010, p. 4) claimed that “superior talent management correlates strongly with enhanced business performance.” The study suggests that over a five-year period organizations with talent management programs which are aligned with business strategy deliver a return on investment (measured by return on common equity (ROE)) on average, 20 percent higher than rival ...

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