• Type: Press release
  • Date: 3/19/2013

'Best practice’ is killing talent management 


Madalina Racovitan

Partner, People Services
KPMG in Romania

19 march 2013, Bucharest


Many organizations continue to take a generic ‘best practice’ approach to one of their most important strategic levers: how best to manage their people. Manage it well and the organization sings in harmony. Manage it poorly, and things start going off key. The ability to develop the right talent strategy for any organization depends largely on how well it is able to tune in to the talent it needs to be successful in the future.

A rigid attachment to ‘best practice’ rather than a focus on business needs is preventing many organizations from unearthing and nurturing staff to drive their business forward.  “The danger of such an inflexible approach is also killing organizations’ ability to properly manage talent,” says Madalina Racovitan, KPMG in Romania Partner and People Services Leader.


According to KPMG’s white paper called ‘Tune in to Talent,’ organizations are failing to adjust their approach or match it to their unique requirements, leaving executives frustrated and concerned.  The impact of HR tactics on Boardroom confidence is highlighted in a 2012 Economist Intelligence Unit study commissioned by KPMG International (“Rethinking HR in a Changing World”), in which fewer than one in four CEOs and directors accepted that their HR department excels at ‘sourcing key talent’ or ‘preparing for a changing workforce’.


Madalina Racovitan, suggests that the tendency to copy or adopt the latest fad or fancy must be challenged if businesses are to understand the talent they truly need to succeed, and plan effectively to find and keep it.  She says: “All too often, companies dive straight in, implementing the latest best practice recruitment, development or performance system or process.  Instead, they need to stand back and ask some searching questions about what talent their particular business needs now and in the future. We have also seen many companies importing programmes that have proved successful in the more developed practices, sometimes forgetting that they need to at least customise them to Romanian realities and culture.”


Racovitan identifies four key groups of questions HR teams should ask, before scoping a talent strategy. These are:

  • strategic talent requirements: revolving around what kinds of skills will help the business succeed, how many staff are needed and where they should be based
  • talent risks: based on an assessment of what key talent risks are facing the organization,  and including analysis of succession planning, key person dependency and mobility risks
  • return on investment: exploring what the business has learned about which kind of ‘talent interventions’ deliver the best RoI and examining whether success is better achieved through growing talent or buying it
  • talent governance & infrastructure:  identifying what infrastructure exists to manage data on talent and  the culture and governance in place to encourage and enable career moves and secondments


Racovitan believes that asking and answering these four key questions will ensure that any talent plan is tailored and unique to the business it is designed for.  “By fully understanding the current and future business context – by tuning in to talent - HR teams can assemble the right elements of a talent approach, and create a unique talent playlist- one that captures the character, culture and mood of their specific business,” she concludes.


KPMG’s People and Change Advisory team in Romania offers a wide range of solutions in the Talent Development area that are aimed at developing people strategies which enable identification of organization Talent and Learning needs; identification of High Potential Employees; Assessment of Competence; Capability Building; Career Management, Learning and Development Strategy ; Retention Strategy; Development of Leadership Talent and Succession Planning.

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