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Talent Management Top HR Priority at Financial Services Firms

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Human resources executives at financial services firms will focus on identifying and developing talented employees over the next year, according to a new survey by Towers Watson.

The survey also found that HR leaders will emphasize manager effectiveness and performance management programs.

Towers Watson conducted the poll of 60 senior HR professionals at leading financial services companies during a May 7 conference in New York.

According to the poll, 44% of respondents said identifying and developing talent was the primary focus of their organization’s HR division over the next 12 months.

Twenty-five percent said they would focus on updating their HR technology over the next year.

About 10% said their primary focus would be on compensation and benefits, work force planning or employee engagement initiatives.

“Given the dramatic changes that the financial services industry is undergoing from both a regulatory and business perspective, it’s no surprise that HR leaders will be focused on talent management,” Ravin Jesuthasan, global leader of talent management at Towers Watson, said in a statement.

“The landscape for talent has been changing steadily, driving financial services executives to identify what skills will be needed for them to compete effectively, and develop programs to attract and retain the best talent for their organizations.”

Towers Watson also asked respondents which talent management initiatives would receive the most attention at their organizations over the next 12 months:

  • 42% cited manager effectiveness (assessing and developing managers’ ability to manage the work environment, develop people and energize change)
  • 42% said performance management (developing processes and programs that link performance to compensation and other talent management programs
  • 12% said career architecture would receive the most focus
  • 4% cited competence development.

“Identifying, developing and managing talent in an industry as global and complex as financial services is a constant challenge,” Chris Fabro, global leader of Towers Watson’s Talent and Rewards financial services practice, said in the statement.

“Industry staffing levels have changed dramatically over the last three years, with companies increasing staff before the crisis hit, reducing staff as the crisis unfolded and rebuilding staff again as the recovery gained ground.”

Fabro noted that many organizations were increasingly concerned about their ability to attract top talent in particular.

“All of these changes and new realities will demand that companies have an innovative and robust talent management strategy in place to succeed in the future.”

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