Retaining and developing talent - Workforce news, July 2015


The LGA and PPMA undertook research into how organisations retain and develop talent. The aim of the research carried out in 2014 was to identify the key challenges facing the local government sector in talent management, how authorities are tackling those challenges and examples of good practice both within the sector and in the wider world of employment.

Key findings

  • There is need to create a new, more systemic (as opposed to systematic) approach to talent management across local government which spans the locality and works across organisational boundaries.
  • Some councils are at the forefront of a new, more flexible, more dynamic approach to talent management that aligns employee and organisational aspirations more closely and we should share that learning and practice more widely.

Practice identified

  1. How to create a viable and coherent talent management strategy. Standard HR practice is increasingly inadequate to cope with the complexity of today's rapidly evolving, resource-stretched employment environment – examples of defined practice in this area include, amongst others, BAE Systems, Birmingham City Council, Danny Kalman Consulting, Manchester City Council, Sunderland City Council and Warwickshire County Council
  2. How to define talent. How widely or narrowly should we define it? How do we establish a sufficiently diverse talent population to meet evolving job roles? – examples of defined practice in this area include, amongst others, Andrew Mayo Learning, BAE Systems, Hertfordshire County Council and Unilever
  3. How to recruit and identify talent. Should we be trying to identify talent or find better ways for talented people to identify themselves? – examples of defined practice in this area include, amongst others, Hertfordshire County Council, Nottingham City Council,
  4. How to develop and retain talent. Is it justifiable to invest developmental resources preferentially in a "chosen few" high potentials? How do we balance the need for specific expertise against the need for increased role flexibility? – examples of defined practice in this area include, amongst others, East Sussex County Council/PPMA, Hertfordshire County Council and Unilever
  5. How to facilitate talented employees to take accountability for and manage their own careers and self-development. What processes and structures will remove the barriers? How can we engage people in constructive dialogue that aligns employee and employer aspirations? – examples of defined practice in this area include, amongst others, Adobe, Birmingham City Council, Manchester City Council and Unilever.

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Further information

For more information about this research please contact Nigel.carruthers@local.gov.uk.