People make companies succeed

Press release

“Trust in Talent”: New Study by Kienbaum

Talent management: Only every third company offers innovative career paths

  • Strategies for talent management are missing at half of all companies
  • Companies need to understand which talents they will need in the future
  • Innovative employers let talented professionals take charge of their own development

Cologne, 22 January 2018 Many companies have begun to innovate in their structures and organizations, while their talent management seems reliant on long-established practices: Only every third company allows its employees to grow and develop outside of the rut of traditional career tracks. For around 70 percent of companies, talent management is exclusively targeted at executive personnel and designed with a vertical trajectory through the hierarchy in mind. That is the result of a new study by the people and organization consultants at Kienbaum. Kienbaum has spoken to 204 HR managers and 118 other professionals separately to explore new trends in talent management.

“Talented professionals are expected to prepare and develop over long years for a specific target position that might not even exist anymore when the time comes. Or it is these cherished talented people themselves who would leave the company before the target position becomes an option. Companies need different development concepts and new career landscapes”, believes Eberhard Huebbe, the main author of the Kienbaum study.

Only half of all companies have dedicated talent management strategies
Talent management means that companies define the competences and abilities they think are particularly important for their commercial success, that they identify talented people with those competences, and that they develop, support, and try to retain these people for the long term. However, only 55 percent of the companies surveyed by Kienbaum even have such a strategy in place, which means that only half of all companies know what they need to be successful and what they should develop and support in their people.

Companies have to understand the talent they will need in the future
The Kienbaum study reveals: Two out of every three HR departments are still reliant on a very rigid and homogenous concept of talent for staffing pre-defined key functions and leadership positions with defined employees marked as high potentials. Only the remaining third of the surveyed HR professionals state that their companies treat all employees as talents who deserve support. “This does not mean that they would give all people the same level of attention. Rather, companies need to know which talents will be relevant for their future”, Eberhard Huebbe explains. Companies with a more inclusive concept of talent tend to be more innovative than those espousing a more elitist view. Eberhard Huebbe: “If they want to become more innovative, organizations would do well to consider a more expansive definition of talent and be ready to question established systems.”

Innovative companies empower their employees to manage their own development
HR managers regularly underestimate how effective and responsible their talented employees can be: 83 percent of employees consider themselves primarily responsible for their own progress in their careers, whereas only 42 percent of the surveyed HR professionals think that they can trust the people in their organizations to manage their own development. Eberhard Huebbe believes: “Capable and qualified professionals know best what they need for their careers. Their managers should be on their side with individual coaching and a constant dialogue – but not with strict, unbending plans.”
The Talent Management Study 2018 can be accessed at our webiste. For more information, please contact Sarah Delahaye (phone: +49 30 880-198 66;

Kienbaum. Inspiring. Different.

Kienbaum Consultants International is an HR and management consulting enterprise that puts people at the heart of its consulting portfolio. It is dedicated to moving people in organizations on their way to successful changes and transformations. Kienbaum actively supports its clients with executive search, human capital services, change and organization consulting, and communication services. Its interdisciplinary teams can draw on decades of consulting experience, intensive industry knowhow, and the practice-oriented research produced by Kienbaum’s dedicated research institute. Kienbaum was founded more than 70 years ago and is still being managed by the Kienbaum family and its managing partners. From its head offices in Cologne, Kienbaum operates offices in 18 countries across four continents.

Editor/Responsible for the contents: Saskia Leininger