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Tailoring Talent Management: can individualisation still be fair, equal and inclusive?

Marketing has moved from customer segmentation to true personalisation. This individualisation is about responding to the needs and behaviours of a segment of one. As talent management experts, our customers are our employees and what they want varies hugely from person to person. So, shouldn’t we tailor talent management to their individual wants and needs?

The HR Trend Institute says individualisation is one of the top eight trends for 2018, so surely we need to move with the times. But in a world where fairness, equality and inclusivity surrounds us, this seems impossible – everyone should receive the exact same treatment. That would mean individualisation is a no-go.

Imagine a scenario where two people are given an opportunity of a secondment in another country. They get the exact same experience, so isn’t that fair, equal and inclusive?

Well, while one of them would love to work in another country and embrace a different culture, the other feels the opportunity has little relevance for their aspirations. Equal treatment isn’t fair or inclusive when one person gets their dream opportunity and the other feels they’re held back. Instead, we should align opportunity to aspiration, ambition and preference to drive feelings of fairness, equality and inclusivity.

Realistically, it’s not workable to give an entirely bespoke offering to each employee. But that’s not to say we can’t learn from marketing and take an approach that blends segmentation with individualisation.

Following these four steps can help you get that perfect blend:

Develop shared HR principles

Create a shared mindset around fairness, equality and inclusivity. And be inclusive while doing it. It’s all about your employees, so involve them in deciding how fairness and inclusivity work together. What do they expect from an employer to make this work and what do they need to do themselves?

Understand your people

Identify what people are looking for from an employer and for their careers. Taking a segmentation approach, group like-minded people to create your organisation’s ‘talent groups’ based on what they value. For example, people that want to climb the career ladder will want different opportunities to networkers who value connecting with the right people.

Personalise your employee value proposition

Tailor your employee value proposition (EVP) to your talent groups to create a personalised yet scalable and affordable offering. L’Oreal applied user-centric design by asking their employees what was good about working there. Developing a unique, core offering for everyone promotes fairness and equality. Flexing the components to respond to people’s unique needs drives inclusivity.

Empower your line managers

Drive an individualised approach through your line managers. They need to get to know their line reports, understanding their aspirations and what makes them tick. Make sure your line managers know what the different opportunities are and how to match the right opportunity to the right person, while sticking to those agreed principles for fairness, equality and inclusivity.

So, is it possible to individualise talent management and still be fair, equal and inclusive? By remembering to give everyone the opportunities that support their goals by following these steps, it is.

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