Everything you need to know about the features and characteristics of talent management. Talent management is nothing but identifying, realising and guiding untapped potential in people.

Talent management means nurturing and developing the people identified having ability and potential and it should form part of any organisations recruitment and retention strategy. It involves individual and organisational development in response to changing and complex operational environment. It includes the creation and maintenance of supportive and people oriented organisation culture.

According to the Society of Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) glossary of terms, talent management is ‘the implementation of integrated strategies of systems designed to increase workplace productivity by developing improved processes for attracting, developing, retaining, and utilizing people with the required skills and aptitude to meet current and future needs’.

The important features and characteristics of talent management are:-


1. Recognise Talent 2. Acquiring Talent 3. Attracting Talent 4. Retaining Talent 5. Nurturing Talent 6. Multiplying Talent 7. Developing Talent

8. Advancing Talent 9. Recognizing Talent 10. Promoting Talent 11. Networking Talent  12. Engaging Talent  13. Managing Succession 14. Change Organisation Culture.

Features and Characteristics of Talent Management in HRM

Features of Talent Management – Top 10 Important Features: Acquiring Talent, Retaining Talent, Nurturing Talent, Multiplying Talent and a Few Others

A talented employee with high potential can make a significant difference to the current and future performance of the organization. In fact, talent management is considered as a driver to organizational success.

According to the Society of Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) glossary of terms, talent management is ‘the implementation of integrated strategies of systems designed to increase workplace productivity by developing improved processes for attracting, developing, retaining, and utilizing people with the required skills and aptitude to meet current and future needs’.


In other words, talent management is an integrated system to attract, develop, retain, and utilize people having the requisite knowledge, skills, aptitude, and attitude to contribute towards the achievement of an organization’s present and future objectives and goals.

The important features of talent management:

Feature # 1. Acquiring Talent – Manpower Planning and Recruitment:

In order to recruit the right people, an organization has to structure its manpower planning and recruit­ment process. Manpower or human resource planning forms the core of HRM, and deals with the acquiring of human resources of an organization.

Planning consists of the process of knowing how to select appropriate individuals as employees based on their skills, knowledge, pragmatism, maturity, etc., and making sure that they are smoothly fitted into their assigned roles as well as the overall system. Thus, smooth functioning of the organization to achieve its business objectives and goals is ensured. Planning further refers to using the available assets for the effective implementation of the production plans.


After the preparation of plans, people are grouped together to achieve the organizational objectives. Apart from selecting suitable employees, manpower planning also deals with the process of upgrading the existing employees. The human resources are the most valuable assets of any organization and are the only resource that appreciates. This is because they contribute to the realization of its business objectives.

Human resources also contribute their time and expertise to the overall functioning of their organization. Thus, the process of manpower planning and staffing is crucial to the business develop­ment of an organization.

The recruitment and selection activities are by far the major functions of the HR department as they create the competitive strength of the company. Recruitment process must be based on a strategy formulated by the company. The company has to decide the positions to be filled through manpower planning, carrying out job analysis, developing the job description and job specifications, followed by finalizing the man specification. Obviously, the company must utilize a band of people accustomed for this job.

This is followed by designing the advertisement by conforming to the attract-interest- desire-action (AIDA) model strictly in that order to attract talent for the company, selecting suitable selection tools to facilitate background investigations, job specifications, tests for screening, etc.


Selection tools that are meticulously used also help a company to avoid ‘select error’ and ‘reject error’. Select error refers to the situation when a person is selected and cannot perform the assigned tasks or contribute anything to achieve the goals. This happens either due to choice of wrong selection tools or some defects in administering the tool.

On the other hand, reject error refers to the mistake when the attributes of a well-qualified person remain unidentified during the selection process and he/she is rejected. Being rejected by the interviewers of one company, he/she may join some other company at the same or higher position and is seen to perform there.

There are a few more points that managers must keep in mind to avoid problems or mistakes at this level:

a. Focus recruiting efforts on young talent from small towns and cities, and base their compensation packages on the job role and skill sets rather than only on their qualifications. Remember that youth from villages, small towns, and cities are likely to be more ethical. Probabilities of attrition will be less, too.


b. Performance reviews should be conducted at close intervals, say at six-month intervals rather than annually. They can even design and provide certain innovative reward programs over the more traditional ones of recognizing employee performance.

c. Allow the employees to identify their developmental needs. Place learning and educational responsibilities solely on them. It is advisable to forego conventional company-mandated training. Provide employees with professional development opportunities.

d. Offer skill-based and performance-based compensation and long-term incentives to employees.

e. Try to identify and eliminate as many routine and tedious processes and jobs as possible.


f. Allocate human resources to vigorous entry-level training.

Scarcity of resources might be an issue in India and the rest of the world in the years to come. However, we can continue to be optimistic for many reasons. India has a rich source of educated young talent base. It is important to understand that they can be developed to be readily usable for industries through macro level planning.

Feature # 2. Retaining Talent – Induction and Placement:

Every organization conducts an induction programme for new recruits. During this programme, the organization tries to identify the inner potential of the recruits such as their likes and dislikes, motives, personality attributes, lifestyle inventories, and attempts to place them accordingly to derive the best from them. Placement based on psychological attributes reduces attrition.

Once the selection and administrative formalities are complete, an employee is placed in an appro­priate job. He then needs to be familiarized with the job and the organization by way of induction. Induction is the process of receiving and welcoming an employee when he first joins the company and the basic information to settle down is shared with him, after which he is able to start work.


Induction of new recruits helps in building a two-way channel of communication between manage­ment and employees, and facilitates creating an informal atmosphere and building team work. Effective induction helps to integrate the new employee into the organization and to develop a sense of belonging.

A formal induction programme makes it easier for the recruits to have a good start. Familiarization of the recruits with the organization is the main concern during induction, as a lot of information about the organization is supplied to the recruits.

The curriculum of an induction should include genesis and evolution of the organization, opera­tions, organization structure, policies and procedures, products and services, infrastructure, safety measures, benefits and services of employees, standing orders and disciplinary procedures, opportuni­ties for training, promotions, transfer, suggestion schemes, rules and regulations, grievance redressal system, etc.

After the stage of induction is completed, the process of placement begins. It is a process of assigning a specific job to each of the new recruits. It involves assigning a specific task and responsibility to an individual, considering the prerequisites of the task and knowledge base and skills possessed by the new recruit. This process of matching is vital for organizational effectiveness and satisfaction of the recruit.

A carefully-designed placement system can improve employee morale, helps in reducing employee turnover and absenteeism, helps in diminishing accident rates, avoids misfit between the employee and the job, and finally helps the employee to work as per the predetermined objectives of the organization.

To remain competitive, companies need performers or talents. After attracting and placing them at appropriate job profiles, companies need to develop methods to retain the new talent.

Feature # 3. Nurturing Talent – Performance Management System:


Potential capabilities of human resources must be honed through a structured performance manage­ment system. Nurturing talent refers to managing and developing employees to achieve business goals. Performance management system focuses on every employee because each of them has a bearing on business performance.

Performance concerns the behaviour directed towards achieving an organization’s missions and business goals, and manufacturing products or services resulting from that behaviour. In other words, it refers to only the behaviour related to the production of goods or services by maintain­ing the qualitative requirements.

Performance is a multidimensional variable and is a conglomerate of several dimensions. Hence, people high on one dimension may not be high on the other, and such standings may change over time.

Performance management is the means through which managers ensure that employees’ activities and output are congruent with the organization’s goal. It is central to gaining competitive advantage, and comprises three phases—defining performance, measuring performance, and taking a feedback on the performance.

Managing performance is interactive, interrelated, and interdependent with managing people. History is littered with examples of poor performance management. It has been evidenced that orga­nizations could not excel as they focused only on results and not actions.

It is important for companies to define their long-term and short-term goals, rigidly apply a single doctrinaire approach, involve the use of jargons, and install suitable support measures to excel. The goals and targets of successful performance management are very specific and quantifiable, easy to understand, and consist of con­tinuous and ongoing activities concerned with the results.

Feature # 4. Multiplying Talent – Development System:


In today’s world, it has become important to multiply the talent of an organization to succeed in the market. Training and development, performance management system, and performance appraisal are some of the processes that are used to multiply talent in an organization.

Besides these, members of the organizations also need professional development through coaching, mentoring, and counselling. Coaching is organized for employees to develop skills to perform their roles better, mentoring is meant to aid development in work leadership, and counselling is carried out to cope with the stress.

Training is an HRD mechanism that improves the knowledge, skills, and performance of an employee. Most of the organizations identify specific training needs prior to training its people. Once the training needs are identified, development of the training objectives should be carried out. This involves designing the syllabus, framing the training curriculum, and selecting the training methodology considering the profile of the participants. Trained and developed talents have a greater probability of staying and growing in a company.

Performance appraisal is another form of multiplying talent. It is a written formal assessment of the employee showing his strengths and weaknesses, achievements, degree of various attributes, etc., which organizations perform annually. It is a part of performance management system.

Feature # 5. Developing Talent – Multi-Source Feedback:

Multi-source assessment and feedback system (MAFS) is also known as ‘360-degree feedback’ or ‘multi-raters appraisal system’. This system has gained great popularity and manifests its importance for developing talent. Almost every Fortune 500 company has implemented MAFS in some form or the other. MAFS enables multiple raters to measure employee behaviour critical to performance; at the same time, questionnaires designed by the HR department could also be used.

Traditionally, an appraisal was done only by one’s immediate senior colleague. This type of an appraisal/assessment could be biased due to interpersonal relations. Keeping this point in view, pres­ently, appraisals are carried out by many persons including the immediate superior, internal customers, external customers, suppliers, colleagues, seniors of cross-functional areas, and immediate subordinates.


The all-round capability of a person can only be judged if the views of all the persons regularly interacting with him are gathered. It is also important that the raters’ or appraisers’ identity is kept confidential. Thus, in this system the content of the remark is more important than the person marking it.

To eliminate any sort of bias, external consultants are engaged to collect the assessment sheets and analyse the comments of different appraisers in order to identify different competencies of different employees. MAFS lays emphasis on softer dimensions of performance such as leadership, creativity, originality, innovation, teamwork, initiative, entrepreneurship, and emotional intelligence, which have emerged as crucial organizational needs in recent times.

The principal objectives are performance- linked pay or rewards, culture building, leadership development, team building, succession planning, and development.

In order to make this system more successful, top management needs to the build the confidence of its employees on the appraisal methodology, create opportunities for employees, invest time and effort, take the current appraisal system seriously, conduct performance reviews, and agree to be assessed by subordinates. Employees or candidates must be ready to welcome the MAFS.

There are certain indica­tors to assess the readiness of the candidate, such as the candidates intent to be better, are receptive and respect the views of others, are learning-oriented individuals, have an aptitude for healthy competition, etc. The candidate should have a direct relationship with at least six individuals who can rate him.

The values of 360-degree feedback are manifold. The set of feedbacks enables an organization to focus on developmental efforts. A carefully-designed questionnaire helps to get a realis­tic feedback. An appraise, on accepting the views of the raters, gains acceptance of the multiple stakeholders. Most managers are surprised and delighted by the amount of positive feedback on introspection.


T. V. Rao learning system (TVRLS) was developed using the RSDQ model (roles, styles, delegation, and qualities) for Indian top and senior management levels to measure the managerial and leadership competencies (www(dot)tvrls(dot)com).

Roles are the extent to which individuals play various leadership and managerial roles and activities.

Style, an element of McKinsey’s 7S framework, is the way in which managers discharge their lead­ership roles. The model envisages that managers may play most roles well, and devote time and effort, but could be insensitive to the style with which they carry out these activities. The model mentions three styles—benevolent or paternalistic leadership style, critical leadership style, and developmental leadership style.

Delegation is an important part of a senior executive’s effectiveness as he/she delegates not only for offloading oneself but also diverting the time in performing creative higher order tasks. The model envisages that managers should exhibit qualities of leaders and world-class managers (e.g., pro-action, listening, communication, positive approach, participative nature, quality orientation, etc.).

Such qualities not only affect the effectiveness with which top level managers perform various roles, but also have an impact on the leadership style, and hence are very critical.

Feature # 6. Advancing Talent – Potential Appraisal and Career System:

Potential appraisal and career system help to advance the talents in an organization.


a. Potential Appraisal:

Potential appraisal refers to the identification and exploration of an employee’s potential and capabilities, hitherto unknown, to perform new roles and responsibilities in view of changing customer demands. Thus, identifying the hidden capability is known as potential appraisal. An employee tries to perform the tasks assigned to him to the utmost satisfaction of his superiors.

The company keeps growing continuously because of the contribution of all the employees at all levels. A dynamic organization reviews, structures systems, creates new roles, and assigns new responsibilities at all possible times to explore hidden potential.

b. Career System:

Career denotes all the jobs that one holds in one’s working life. Career planning is a process that fixes career goals and lays down the path to meet these goals, provides answers to questions such as ‘Where shall I be after five, 10, or 15 years?’. The purpose of career planning is to provide continuity, order, and meaning to a person’s work life.

It is not an event or an end in itself. It tells the employees/prospects about the ways in which they can advance in the company. A career aims to integrate individual and organizational goals.

Career planning has many terms related to it, some of which are career goals, career cycle, career paths, career anchors, career progression, career development, and career counselling. Career goals represent the future positions one may want to occupy. Career cycle involves the stages through which a person’s career evolves. Career paths are the flexible lines of progression through which an employee moves.

Career anchors are distinct patterns of self-perceived talents, attitudes, motives, and values that guide and stabilize a person’s career. Career progression refers to the progress made by an individual in one’s career through a series of right moves. Career development means actions undertaken by a person to achieve the career goals. Career counselling is the process of advising employees in setting career goals, and assisting them to find suitable career paths.

Career planning system manifests its importance in attracting competent per­sons, providing suitable promotional and advancement opportunities, providing challenging work, enabling them to develop, boosting their morale, increasing their motivation, utilizing their managerial reserves, and retaining talent.

Career counselling helps employees to understand the job more clearly, identify strengths and weaknesses, develop an outlook, achieve and enjoy greater satisfaction, and realize the forces and dynamics in the system. Career planning has certain limitations too as it is more suitable for small organizations, and not so effective for a large number of employees.

It is not appropriate for illiterate employees, the workforce, and the backward classes. As expectations of organizational members are growing, it is not effective for a longer period of time such as 10 years or more. Changes in environment, political interventions, nepotism, and favouritism are also responsible behind limitations of career planning.

The success of career planning depends on certain factors. Top management’s commitment is essential for successful career planning. The enterprise should be expanding and must have clear corporate goals. The workforce should be motivated and jobs should be assigned to the right people. There must be a balance of age in the organization. Fair promotion policy and management of career or occupational stress further smoothens out the career planning system.

Feature # 7. Recognizing Talent – Reward System:

Rewarding an employee for the good work done by him/her is extremely essential. This can be done by recognizing his/her splendid contribution towards the organization. Rewards and recognition play a crucial role in developing the levels of motivation, commitment, and loyalty of employees towards the organization. Talents are no exception to this. Rewards are often linked with performance.

Rewards also help to promote the desired values, attitudes, and behaviour. Rewards are further linked to the quality of work and improvement. Rewards need not always be of a high cost. They can also be of a low cost value such as a token appreciation reward.

There are many companies where rewards are linked to career advancement or development. It is important that the rewards system must be structured, documented, and communicated to the employees. The system should be unambiguous and objective. This is essential to avoid demotivation of those who aspired, but did not receive any reward.

Feature # 8. Promoting Talent – Compensation Management:

Presently, compensation management is a strategic issue and includes all forms of pay and rewards given to employees. Compensation includes both direct financial payments and indirect financial payments that employees receive during their employment period. A sound and effective compensation management system is the key driver of motivation, employee retention, and enhanced quality of work life. The term compensation refers to the disbursement of incentives with regard to salary and wage administration.

The compensation system considers both intrinsic (intangible) and extrinsic (tangible) components. Extrinsic compensation covers both monetary and non-monetary rewards, whereas intrinsic compensation reflects an employee’s emotional satisfaction through accomplishment of the job.

Designing and administering compensation needs certain legal considerations such as acts relating to the framework for remuneration of the top management of Indian companies, conformance to minimum pay, maximum hours, and overtime pay. Other considerations are child labour protection, ensuring equal pay for women doing the same work as men, and unemployment compensation for workers.

Feature # 9. Networking Talent – Separation and Beyond:

Separation is a term used to refer to the resignation or termination of service. It is generally classified as layoff, voluntary resignation, or discharge. The entire separation process is conducted in such a way that the separating employee does not feel harassed or embarrassed.

Smooth transitions and return of com­pany property is ensured. A departing employee naturally feels emotional and can also share valuable insights about the organization. Keeping this in view, an organization arranges an exit interview that helps the organization reduce future attrition.

Employee departures are a natural part of the employee life cycle. Whether caused by voluntary resignation, retirement, or company induced termination, employee separations need to be efficiently managed by the HR. The separation needs to be handled with sensitivity, discretion, and speed so that exits can happen without burning bridges with the employee. After all, it is also important to remember that a leaving employee can be the most effective brand ambassador of the company.

Departing employees present an opportunity for the organization to gather a wealth of valu­able feedback and insights on its strengths and weaknesses. However, all separations are not similar. Sometimes, it is worthwhile to go an extra mile in trying to retain a separating employee. The end of an employment relationship is frequently associated with emotional distress.

Feature # 10. Engaging Talent – Developing Workers and Sub-Staff:

Employee engagement is a measure of their commitment or loyalty to the organization, and the degree of their willingness to perform tasks to achieve quantitative targets and conform to the qualitative requirements. Employees must work above and beyond the expectations of the organization. An orga­nization and its employees should conduct day-to-day business based on a common set of shared values.

Managers of the organization should effectively communicate and be emphatic listeners for effec­tive leadership. Recognition, both extrinsic and intrinsic, is essential for a job well-done and, the doer should be recognized spontaneously. The organization must develop a proper mechanism to let the employees understand how their work contributes to the organization’s overall success.

Employees must be involved in decision-making that affects their work. Each employee should get opportunities to advance and grow in his/her professional career by means of personal development. Employees must be made to understand that their pay and benefits are fair and competitive in the marketplace.

Thus, the seven engagement elements or levers that matter the most are shared values, effective leadership, motivational recognition, contribution to success, employee involvement or engagement, personal development, and economic self-interest.

Features of Talent Management  Distinct Features Needed for Talent Management

Talent management is nothing but identifying, realising and guiding untapped potential in people. It means nurturing and developing the people identified having ability and potential and it should form part of any organisations recruitment and retention strategy. It involves individual and organisational development in response to changing and complex operational environment. It includes the creation and maintenance of supportive and people oriented organisation culture.

Talent management is a conscious, deliberate approach undertaken to attract, develop and retain people with the aptitude and abilities to meet current and future organisational needs. Every person has a unique talent that suits a particular job profile any other position will cause him discomfort. A wrong fit will result in further hiring, retraining and other wasteful activities. In order to bring harmony in such situations, the key ingredient is “putting the right people in the right jobs”.

Talent management brings together a number of important human resources and management initiatives. Organisations that formally decide to manage their talents undertake a strategic analysis of their current HR process.

Talent management approach is adopted and focussed on co-coordinating and integrating the following:

i. Recruitment – ensuring right people are attracted to the organisation.

ii. Retention – developing and implementing practices that reward and support employees.

iii. Employee development – ensuring continuous formal and informal learning and development.

An important step to be taken in an organisation is identifying the staff or employees that are critical to the Organisation. Many organisations lost a lot of their knowledge pool in the downsizing exercise a few years ago. The impact of the loss was not immediately apparent. However it did not take long for many companies to realise their mistake. What is more important is to think of whether people are still seen as an organisation’s most valuable assets. Business leader are quick to say that but when it comes to the real situation, they are not realizing the same consequently they are worried about retaining them.

For those companies who have the foresight to take more innovative and imaginative approaches, they will have the opportunity to gain competitive advantage by creating niche for human resources. For those who don’t, their future competitiveness will remain even more uncertain.

The distinct features which are needed for talent management:

1. Recognise Talent:

Notice what do employees do in their free time and find out their interests. Try to discover their strengths and interests. Also, encourage them to discover their own latent talents. For instance, if an employee in the operations department convincingly explains why he thinks he’s right even when he’s wrong, consider moving him to sales!

2. Attracting Talent:

Attracting qualified talent is the critical first step in the talent management cycle. The improving economy, baby boomers, retirement and other factors are creating keen competition for talent these days. Hence this step has become more critical them ever before.

Companies have to attract good talent by establishing their brand identity. As we know that we get good customers with a good brand. In the same way, companies must develop their image in the society by implementing the best practices in each and every aspect.

3. Selecting Talent:

Once quality people are attracted then it is very important to choose right candidates for the right job. What companies have to do is to match the job analysis with human analysis which gives the real picture of role fitment. This process must be adopted by every company in order have high performance teams which give competitive advantage.

“Any strategy, no matter how smart, is dead on arrival unless companies bring it to life with people.”

4. Retaining Talent:

Most companies today would acknowledge that their human assets are their most important assets. But since companies can’t own employees the way they own factories or product, their success or failure hinges on the quality and duration of the relationship they form with the people.

In present scenario people choose companies which have congenial atmosphere and prefer change if they don’t get desirable atmosphere. As it may hinder the growth and successes of the company, therefore, retention is vital than recruitment. Rewards for high performance, employee welfare, opportunity for individual development, employing personal and professional counseling initiatives, enhancing QWL are some of the technique that help in retention of employees.

In order to retain talented people, pamper the talent pool and aspire them with recognition, status and good money and also encourage them in the quest for knowledge. They have to be provided assistance with financial planning, entrepreneurship development programmes and sometimes part time employment options also. If these things are not provided, people will find companies where all these things are available and quit the present organisation.

5. Managing Succession:

Effective organisations anticipate the leadership and talent requirement to succeed in the future. Leaders understand that it’s critical to strengthen their talent pool through succession planning, professional development, job rotation and workforce planning. They need to identify potential talent and groom it.

6. Change Organisation Culture:

Ask yourself, “Why would a talented person choose to work here?” If the organisation wishes to substantially strengthen its talent pool, it should be prepared to change things as fundamental as the business strategy, the organisation structure, the culture and even the calibre of leaders in the organisation.

A rightly managed talent turns out to be a Gold Mine. It’s inexhaustible and priceless. It will keep supplying wealth and value to the organisation.

In turn, Management needs to realise its worth, extract it, polish it and utilise it. Don’t hoard Talent- spend it lavishly, like a millionaire flashing his luxuries, because Talent is Wealth!