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Successful organisations know in detail about the competencies and skills of their workforces

It still surprises me today that many businesses in the UK do not have access to good quality, in-depth metrics around talent within the workforce. With as much as 70% of a company's value based on the skills, experience and performance of its employees, it seems ludicrous that there is not more of a focus on talent.

New research from Taleo has highlighted a substantial 91% of organisations want access to detailed information around competencies and skills within their organisation, so clearly the value of this intelligence is recognised. But almost half (45%) do not have access to this information. Which begs the question: in this technologically advanced world, why are more businesses not implementing systems that can provide this information when it can be done so easily?

Is it that while HR and recruitment professionals understand the importance of talent metrics, the purse strings do not? Or is it that talent management is still not taken seriously within businesses? Either way, it is crucial that businesses step out of the ‘talent darkness’ and use talent systems to create a more efficient and effective workplace, achieving success from the inside out.

Talent intelligence is vital when it comes to developing and managing talent within your business. One advantage of this is that the existing talent structure is transparent and fair for all employees, ensuring that opportunities to develop are available to everyone. Having a selected talent pool is now an outdated thing. Ultimately, everyone recruited into a business expresses some sort of talent, so surely then the entire workforce is a ‘pool of talent’. Therefore the best type of business practice is where everyone has the opportunity to grow and is encouraged to succeed. Not only does it allow you to support employees’ aspirations but it does wonders for engagement within the company which, as we all know, has a positive impact on motivation, productivity and the bottom line.

Clear metrics also helps to find the ‘diamonds in the rough’– those who with a little nurturing have the skills to be successful business leaders of tomorrow. Many businesses have successfully implemented talent management systems and as a result been able to grow leaders within their company.

But how do you retain talent once you have invested in it? Answer: through great management and ensuring employees are engaged with their role and the business. Engagement is a word that is often used freely, but that’s because it is incredibly important during all stages of the employee lifecycle. When you hire a new employee, making sure they are engaged early on will help ensure they are performing adequately. When they are developing and achieving career success, engagement will assist in retaining them. And even when an individual has departed, having that sense of engagement will make sure they are a good brand ambassador for your business in the future.

Many also forget that talent systems are not just about growing the workforce; they can be beneficial when having to reduce headcount. The current economic climate looks set to bring more and more challenges. It is inevitable that in both the private and public sectors further redundancies will need to be made which is never a nice task. However, if you are able to access quality talent information that can clearly map the skills and experience available in the business, then it could potentially help those hard decisions become a little easier to make.

So, in short, a business can either invest in talent intelligence and management or it can choose to be one that doesn’t but wishes it did. It really is quite clear there are many advantages of doing so, and with such a variety of talent solutions available in the marketplace, there really is no reason why business owners and HR professionals should not step up and take talent seriously.

Jane Sunley is CEO, learnpurple and TalentToolbox