A new study conducted jointly by IBM's Institute for Business Value and Washington-based think tank Human Capital Institute (HCI) has yielded promising answers to those questions.
Respondents scored their companies in 30 specific competencies, which fell into six key practices of talent management: strategy development, attracting and retaining, motivating and developing, deploying and managing, connecting and enabling, and transforming and sustaining.
Some of the key findings:
- Companies with high scores across the board were more likely to have strong financial performance.
- Organizational size was a main difference-maker between companies that did well on the survey and those that did poorly.
- Organizations with fewer than 1,000 employees were 4% better than the total sample at collaboration and sharing knowledge, 6% better at promoting virtual working, and 4% better at identifying relevant skills.
- Surprisingly, medium-size companies—between 1,000 and 10,000 employees—were less likely to have implemented five out of the six talent management practices in the study.
- Knowledge-intensive businesses tended to focus on development and collaboration, while service-intensive ones emphasized employee attraction and retention.
BOTTOMLINE: According to their research, "The best way to invest in talent management depends greatly on the size and industry of a company. And there's no easy fix for the human resources woes that are becoming more common in all business.
But for those looking to link talent to profits, there were two competencies that a majority of the best-performing companies had in common: understanding and addressing workforce attitudes and engagement levels; and aligning employee incentives with appropriate business goals."