Talent management is concerned with the long term success of a business by ensuring that it has the right people in place to fulfil all the necessary roles in the future. It minimises the risk to the long term future of the business or organisation by ensuring that there is a pipeline of people with the right skills, experience and behaviours to fulfil key positions in the future.

The job market is currently on a steady increase after the economic downfall that the UK has faced in recent months. However, whilst this is a good thing in some ways, it brings its difficulties in other ways, as the talented members of an organisation’s staff become harder to retain. Businesses face their staff being “poached” – leaders, team members and all.

The consultancy company Deloitte have undertaken a year-long analysis of global talent retention trends. The fourth edition, “Managing Talent in a Turbulent Economy” was published in September 2009, and found that 49% of employees were on the lookout for new employment, and that 44% of those actually ended up acting upon those intentions. Employees are obviously willing to listen to rival offers, and employers should be looking towards proactive retention of their top talent rather than being stuck in the mindset of a recession.

Legal cases have long been setting precedents regarding the downfalls of poaching staff from another business, but one recent case in particular has given food for thought. In the USA, Jason West and Vincent Zampella, who came up with the massively successful military game “Call of Duty”, were fired on 1st March 2010 from the computer games development company Activision Blizzard Inc after allegedly violating their contracts by seeking to start an independent studio. West and Zampella were quick to sue Activision for $36 million, but Activision quickly hit back by countersuing the duo for allegedly trying to take staff and ideas with them.

Losing a talented team member is bad enough. Losing a talented leader is even worse, but losing a talented leader plus any number of various talented members from their team could be a crucial blow for any business in this harsh current climate. Iraj Ispahani of the UK headhunter company Korn Ferry Whitehead Mann feels he knows how to prevent the loss of an entire team.

“First, retain the inspirational leader”, he says. “Retention of top talent and development of high-potentials needs to be given greater focus in the City. In order to prevent teams following their leader to the exit, individuals also need to feel a wider connection to the institution and not just to their direct boss or team. High-potentials are motivated not only by money, but also by furthering their careers, learning and personal growth, and a general sense of achievement. Institutions need to demonstrate their commitment to supporting the advancement of these key individuals. It must not be seen as a hollow promise.”

Anne-Marie Malley at Deloitte agrees with the sentiments of Mr Ispahani.

“Companies need to move towards proactive retention,” says Ms Malley. “Although remuneration will be a key element, particularly in the City, other factors such as strong leadership, the potential for job advancement, new career paths and training and development programmes for high potential individuals will all act as significant motivation for employees”.