Performance and Talent: Essentials of Talent Development Programs and Groups

  • José Alberto RodriguesEmail author
  • Elloise Naidoo
Reference work entry


In the last century, natural resources were the most valuable assets in a company; leading companies grew successful and prosperous by acquiring these resources worldwide. Although much labor was needed, it was for blue-collar and routine jobs. This began to change in the 1960s with the need for more creative work that required independent judgment and decision-making. Harvard research shows that in the 1960s, creative jobs accounted for only 16 % of all jobs. By 2013, more than half of the top 50 companies were talent based, including three of the four biggest, i.e., Apple, Microsoft, and Google. The working world has shifted from exploiting natural resources to making the best use of human capital (Harvard Business Review (Martin R, The rise (and likely fall) of the Talent Economy. p 3–4, 2014).

In these talent competitive times, companies are looking for the best performers, not only externally, but more importantly within their doors. Having identified these employees, it is then fundamental to have them enrolled in specific and targeted programs, as high potentials, to design tailor-made development actions in order to obtain higher performance from each of them. Obviously, they can develop important skills on their own, but what is more important is to understand how they can leverage better performance from each of them working in groups and teams.

High-quality training is extremely expensive, and in this cost-consciousness era, businesses are unwilling to outlay the amounts necessary; companies must therefore develop their own programs which include a mix of on-the-job training, stretch assignments, job rotation, and other development initiatives. Companies should also promote powerful tools like coaching and mentoring, business case readings, and, of course, online and in-house training programs, preferably their own platforms. Only a small percentage of the time should be dedicated to classical development and training, and these should be of high quality in prestigious business schools and institutions.

What motivates high-potential employees today is not only money but opportunities to grow, challenging assignments, fast track career development, status, recognition and reward (not just monetary), and lifestyle, among other things. That’s why, even with fancy development plans, it is crucial to have challenges for these specific groups both during and, more importantly, after their training; if not, they will seek their own challenges and move on from the business. How, then, can companies ensure that their investment in these employees will be successful and that they will be able to retain their services today and into the future? This is one of the most challenging jobs for human resources directors today.


Talent Development Retention Teams Leadership Performance Program 


  1. Online article: Berson J (2006) Talent management: what is it? Why now?
  2. Online document: CIPD (2015) Talent management: an overview.
  3. Online publication: Bain and Company (2013) How to bridge South Africa’s talent gap.
  4. Online article: Forbes (2011) 5 keys for developing talent in your organisation.
  5. Harvard Business Review: Martin R (2014) The rise (and likely fall) of the Talent Economy. p 3–4Google Scholar
  6. Online article: Mondaq Strategy Consultants (2011) 5 top employee retention strategies.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.AngolaAfrica
  2. 2.DHL Global ForwardingJohannesburgSouth Africa

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