While talent management practices are becoming more widespread, there is still an informal approach to finance talent development in many organisations around the world, reveals a comprehensive global study by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).
The "Talent Management in 2010" report, which surveyed more than 1,400 individuals from 105 countries, shows that talent development programmes were hit in the downturn, with recruitment put on hold and investment in training reduced. The downturn also exposed skills gaps across the finance function.
While a wide range of finance talent management activities are available to organisations - such as secondments and experiential learning - the survey found there is significant under-use of activities which respondents perceived to be most effective, with potential over-use of activities seen as less effective. ACCA says that organisations may need to reconsider current offerings, and possibly rebalance their talent investment.
The survey also showed that there are few programmes that fully integrate talent identification, development, deployment and retention across the finance profession. Fewer than 20% of respondents indicated that their organisations had an integrated talent strategy that included finance people.
"Our survey suggests that, at present, most talent management practices are informal, sometimes run in isolation, and often functionally based without being part of a wider plan. Even so, there is an improvement in comparison with the survey in 2006, and most organisations are now recognising the relevance and importance of talent development," remarks Jamie Lyon, senior manager at ACCA and author of the report.
Lyon adds that over the past 18 months, there has been significant pressure on the cost base for most organisations and, as a consequence, investment in talent programmes has been affected.
However, many organisations are recognising that now is a critical time to begin reinvesting in the finance people that will make a big difference to their organisation, and drive value.
The survey suggests that talent management programmes are more well-defined in larger organisations than they are in smaller ones, have broader coverage, and are generally perceived to be more successful by employees working in public practice, the corporate sector and in financial services.
"However, the principles of identifying, nurturing and trying to retain an organisation’s best people now need to apply across the board," notes Lyon.