What is Talent?

Well, here we go. My first blog post! Whoop whoop.

Probably since McKinsey consultants introduced  the term ‘The War for Talent’ in 1997 most people understood that ‘Talent’ is considered to be something awesome. Especially companies and HR within them are keen to find the best talents on the market and to win them. Fair enough! But what exactly is talent? Which talent do you need?

Fact is, there is until now, year 2015 – 18 years later – NO universal established definition of talent. Wikipedia for example states ‘Talent means the skill that someone has quite naturally to do something that is hard’.  Innovation Excellence defines talent as something we cannot acquire and ‘we cannot learn to be talented’.  Business Dictionary gives two definitions for talent. ‘1. A natural ability to excel at a duty or an action’ and ‘2. A group of people, such as employees, who have a particular aptitude for certain tasks’. OK so this means in those context we assume that talent is something we cannot develop but which is naturally given.

So, this would mean talent is given and as a HR person you would need to find that person with the talent that you need for your special task to be fulfilled. Sounds pretty challenging. And would the talented person even know that he or she is talented? Would a natural talent always beat hard work?

I’m not too sure with all these definitions. Shouldn’t we more think about

  1. Is the talent a ‘raw’ talent or has the person already taken any action to build on his or her talent to grow and strengthen it?
  2. What if a naturally talented person is lazy? Would a less talented person but with a high strive to perform be a better alternative?
  3. Are we really searching for talent or are we searching for potential?

Whatever talent might be I guess we should take into account that our world is changing constantly and we should be forearmed for future challenges. And without any doubt is our workforce the most important asset and value of each company.

I hope this may be some good food for thought. I am keen to hear your view!

Stephanie

 

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