Talent management in the NHS managerial workforce

Document type
Powell, Martin; Durose, Joan; Duberley, Jo
NIHR Health Services Research and Delivery Programme
Date of publication
1 January 2012
Health Services, Education and Skills
Social welfare
Material type

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In 2004 the NHS introduced a policy called Talent Management (TM), which was developed in the American private sector in the 1990s. Som of the most frequent TM practices include: in house development programmes; coaching; succession planning; mentoring and buddying; and graduate development programmes. It is clear that the NHS had carried out much of this activity before 2004, in an approach that the authors here term mt (managing talent). However, a systematic TM policy may contribute to addressing three of the main leadership problems of the NHS: recruiting and retaining Chief Executives; a more diverse or inclusive leadership or an ‘NHS of all the talents’; and benefits in terms of organisational performance, as organisations can achieve competitive advantage through people.

The primary aims of the study presented here were to: explore and document the mt/TM approaches that assisted the career trajectories of four cohorts of managers/administrators from 1970s to 2000s; To examine the facilitators and barriers to talented individuals achieving their potential; and, evaluate the impact of different TM and earlier mt schemes on individuals. The study found that the evidence base for TM remains rather unclear, especially for the contexts of the UK and public service. Moreover, the future of TM is unclear in the current financial and organisational climate. Nevertheless, it does appear that a clear and systematic approach to TM can yield individual and organisational advantages.