Background: The zone-of-tolerance (ZOT) is used in customer management to determine which customer interventions a company should focus their attention on. This research seeks to apply the ZOT to talent management in a South African context. The ZOT was used to investigate which HRM practices organisations should focus on and how the different social grouping and organisational tenure may change the focus of these HRM practices. Results: It was found that career and performance management, communication and employee reward showed significant lower impacts on employee satisfaction when an employee was inside the ZOT across all social groups. At a detailed level though there were differences among the social groups on which aspects of each element lowered the impact on employee satisfaction when inside the ZOT. Conclusion: Talented employees in a South African context value autonomy, training, adequate staffing and reduced job stress. These elements need to be managed regardless of whether the employee is in the ZOT or not. Career and performance management and employee reward, underpinned by clear career paths and performance based remuneration need to be monitored, as the impact of these on employee satisfaction is much lower when in the ZOT. All management interventions need to be supported by transparency and clear communication.