Talent: Is this what organisations are really looking for? by Karolina Silva

It’s common to hear that organizations value talent. In fact, it is common sense to relate talent to success. Hence, organisations seem to be interested in recruiting and hiring talent for growth purposes and tend to promote talent management as part of their business strategy. So far so good, right?

Well, what if I told you that talent is not always that easy to manage and even more shocking is that not every organisation is really interested in talent as such, like they might think. I know, this sounds strange and out of place, but talking about talent is not that simple.

What does “talent” really mean? Talent can vary significantly from one organization to another. It can even vary from one manager to another in the same workplace.

You didn’t see that coming, did you?

Believe it or not, talent can be seen as a threat or risk, because talent involves innovation and sometimes a touch of rebellion. This is not something every manager or business is willing to deal with and even consider in order to thrive, yet recruiting talent is more than just posting skills that are trendy or sound good, it’s about understanding how the business can benefit from it.

Most of the time talent is assumed as being key for success at work. It is what recruiters are constantly looking for in order to surprise organizations in their candidate search. However, this is not always the best move. In other words, managers and recruiters tend to highlight the need for talent when recruiting and hiring the best candidate. They seek the most talented candidate for the role but usually, fail to determine exactly what talent they are looking for and why.

Do they want the candidate to make a difference in the company? Do they want the candidate to improve the overall performance of the team? Or are they just filling a vacant? The truth is that talent is subjective and, as was mentioned before, it can be a challenge to retain a “talented” workforce when career development, for example, is not among the organization’s benefits, priorities or even within the range of the managers’ skills, because the talent they want hired is ambitious and wants to progress within the company. Therefore, the “talent” will leave sooner or later and the organization has not necessarily made the most of it by then.

So, are organizations ready for talent or are they really interested in it? The logical answer is yes, they should, but the reality is a little bit different sometimes due to various reasons.

First and foremost, “talent” should be very well defined before looking for it. What is it the company is really searching for? What type of “talent” do they need? Do they really need talent or just someone that can carry out the duties involved in a particular position? Why search for “leadership skills” when you want someone that simply dictates to a team what needs to be done? For example, job advertisements tend to be full of these desirable skills when trying to find someone for an operational role or low-level position.

This makes no sense at all. You don’t want leaders working for you in these kinds of roles when you are not willing to listen to them, innovate or develop them in order to use their potential for

business growth (which would be a mistake for any business looking for success). However, what organizations do with talent just shows their business culture.

According to the CIPD, (2017), talent “consists of those individuals who can make a difference to organisational performance either through their immediate contribution or, in the longer-term, by demonstrating the highest levels of potential”. Therefore, talent depends on what the organizations value the most, what the goals are in regards to its potential for growth and development, and how managers are trained to take the best decision when hiring, putting aside their own personal preferences and understanding that if they are really interested in talent, and can handle it, it involves a little bit of a challenge and even extra work, which they will receive well sooner rather than later and in kind.

So, next time a hiring manager wants to incorporate a new employee into the organization, make sure they know exactly what they are looking for, why they are looking for it and what are their plans for that particular position.


This article is brought to you exclusively by The Business Transformation Network.


Karolina Silva is a Psychologist with a MSc in Occupational and Business Psychology.

Experience in Counseling and HR, mainly in recruitment, career coaching, performance and organisational environment. Well-being and Mental Health promoter at work.