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HR must focus on talent management to secure business growth, according to Hays

Employers need to 'recognise talent as an asset to be deployed within an organisation' and the HR function must be 'more planned and strategic about talent allocation', according to a report published today by recruitment firm Hays.

The report, Hays Journal, reveals the HR function has had to shift its priorities back to commercial matters, as more businesses focus on cost savings,

The research finds that the global economic downturn has created a dichotomy in many organisations, where HR is commercially focused, but talent management remains one of the biggest challenges facing organisations in the UK. However, in order to cut costs while still addressing the skills shortage in different areas of the workforce, HR must focus on talent management and talent allocation.

Barney Ely, director, Hays human resources said: "HR professionals have had to become even more innovative and commercially driven, with a need to understand and address talent shortages in the new economic landscape in different ways.

"This means discovering where untapped sources of talent lie and evolving creative ways of attracting and identifying new talent. Then, all of these assets must be developed and allocated effectively through a business, so that the talent balance sheet constantly improves."

Ely added: "This shift is necessary to provide the talent needed to help organisations emerge from the tough economic times and rise to new challenges."

The report also says that, since it may be difficult to find talent to cover jobs that require niché skills, there's also a strong need for employers to develop programmes, which build talent over a longer timeframe.

Ely said: "Businesses need to ensure talent is developed, for example, over the next five years so they will be ready to take on leadership roles.

"This not only involves identifying the top talent in a business but determining the needs of those employees' in terms of mobility requirements, family situations and motivation."