You need to keep your business competitive. And hiring, training and retaining high-quality employees is a vital part of success. Developing a strategy for talent management involves every aspect of human resources. It includes finding gaps in your current workforce, recruiting employees, onboarding and training and helping them grow within your organization. Successful talent management strategies analyze and measure progress at each step of the employee’s life cycle to make sure you have the right workers to help your business succeed.
Successful talent management strategies meet similar criteria, and here are a few common attributes.
They define quantifiable objectives and desired outcomes.
They identify the needs and desires of your workforce.
You can use metrics to track progress regularly.
They find behaviors and traits of talent that lead to exceptional outcomes.
They include tools, such as a human resource management system (HRMS), to formalize, organize and streamline talent management strategies.
Why Is a Talent Management Strategy Important?
Your overall business strategy will drive your talent management. Understanding what business objectives you want to achieve will help you find, train and develop the people needed to meet those goals. Companies with thoughtful approaches to talent management consistently outperform their peers, boost productivity and face lower employee turnover rates.
The Talent Management Process
Talent management isn’t a single moment in time or something that’s done once a year. Instead, it’s a process that includes recruiting, training, managing, supporting and compensating your employees as they create value and drive your business toward goals. The process includes the following steps:
Talent strategy and planning: Talent planning considers factors to anticipate labor needs, such as voluntary turnover rate, workforce management, demographics, succession planning, business priorities and budget. This involves identifying the needs, considering changes in the structure of the organization, the strengths of the current staff and preparing people for future roles.
Sourcing and recruiting: Recruiters work to attract highly qualified people they think will be a good fit for the company. The recruiters then vet the candidates, gather key information and pass on the best-fit candidates to the hiring manager and their team for further interviews.
Selecting and hiring: This step involves careful coordination between recruiting, human resources and the business function in developing and communicating compensation packages. Once an offer is extended and accepted, the onboarding (typically an HR function) and training (a business function) begin.
Developing: Training and developing the people you hired involves several functions working in concert. It begins at onboarding and includes immediate job-specific training but extends to developing competencies that advance individual career goals aligned with business objectives. Employee recognition programs are also helpful tools to help employees feel appreciated and allow them to thank and call attention to their peers.
Retaining and engaging employees: Managing performance and compensation is more than goal setting and performance reviews but encompasses ongoing communication between the employees and their managers to align work with strategic business goals. Engaging employees with challenging work while providing the support, tools and training they need to succeed can be a recipe for success. It keeps employees wanting to work for your company while they also have a high output. Compensation can be tied to performance management.
Transitioning: Think about succession planning and leadership development. Identify and train promising leaders for management tracks.
How to Create a Winning Talent Management Process
A talent management strategy is not easy to design. Each organization’s talent management strategy will be unique to their business goals. It should also be agile to adapt to changing business needs and environments. The best talent management strategies look at historical, current and future business needs and consider all aspects of the employee experience. Here are some common elements for your talent management.
Start with the business strategy: Make certain that all stakeholders understand the business objective. For instance, is the goal to increase sales in a certain region? What talent does the company need to accomplish that goal? What are the barriers to achieving objectives?
Conduct a regular talent review: Determine where gaps in your workforce could hinder your success.
Build and refine: Continually adapt and improve plans. Look for current employees with skills, competencies and potential to do the work. Create talent pools, establish dedicated training and development budgets and create policies that encourage growth and development. Be mindful that what works for some employees may not work for everyone. Segment and alter plans to adjust for employees from different backgrounds, skill sets and experience levels.
Attract the right candidates: If you need to hire new employees, think about external market forces. Is talent readily available? What incentives might you need to offer to attract the right talent? And what are competitors who are trying to attract new hires from the same talent pool doing? What does your employer brand say to prospective job candidates?
Put performance management processes in place: The authors of the book “One Page Talent Management” recommend simplifying this process as much as possible. As an example, many organizations use the “SMART” (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound) acronym to track goals for individual bonus plans. The authors instead recommend using “SIMple” to track (specific, important, measurable) goals. List goals in order of importance and make performance management a regular interaction and not a once or twice-a-year event.
Help people perform at the best of their abilities: The best talent management strategies are agile. They can move people to projects as needs arise and quickly change focus when those needs aren’t there. Consider using contract or freelance workers for short-term or special projects.
Develop succession plans: Taking data from talent review processes, establish plans to train and replace key employees should they leave the company or retire. Cross-train on important tasks so knowledge isn’t lost when people leave.
Use data to drive talent management decisions: When forming your talent management strategy, build in key performance indicators (KPI) to track progress and the effectiveness of certain efforts. KPIs can be analyzed as one part of evidence-based talent management approaches. Evidence-based decisions tied to specific business outcomes make for the most impactful talent management strategies. Consider including data from your HR software, as well as other financial goals as key benchmarks.
Talent management systems provide the tools to bring in candidates with the right attitudes, skills and experience, validating from the get-go that are a good fit with the organization’s vision and culture. They help ensure that employees have the right environment to learn and grow in their careers, as well as align job performance goals with business performance goals. They help track and surface the individual motivations that will encourage someone to stay with the company. And they help drive consistently positive employee experience that encourages people to stay in their roles, mentor others within the business and prove long-term assets to the business.