Talent management is defined by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) as:
"Systematic attraction, identification, development, engagement, retention and deployment of those individuals who are of particular value to an organization, either in view of their ‘high potential’ for the future or because they are fulfilling business/operation-critical roles."
There are a variety of reasons why businesses are eager to invest in talent management. From attracting the industry's top talent to increasing employee engagement and performance, and even client satisfaction, there are a number of benefits that a properly implemented talent management strategy can offer an organization.
An ideal process can be broken down into three main areas; strategy, attraction and retention.
Step One: Strategy
Planning a talent management process is probably the most important step to take and can definitely take up the most time. Your strategy should envision what the end goal is for the organization and also evaluate where you currently are. You can then set smaller, more achievable goals that allow you to progress towards the overall objective.
For example, you may want to have a company where employees stay for at least five years on average. Then you might set goals such as increase employee engagement through surveys by 2% by the end of Q4.
This gives you a solid foundation from which to start building your talent management plan and a clear idea of what direction the organization wants it to head in. You'll then need to align these goals with the wider business strategy that is already in place. Both plans have to complement each other and work together to allow either to be effective.
Workforce planning is another crucial element of the strategy phase of a talent management process. What's involved in this can vary, but it can be broken down into:
- Forecasting future needs
- Justifying requests for additional resources
- Engaging staff in changes
- Identifying organizational structural changes
Step Two: Attraction
Talent acquisition and employee value proposition (EVP) are two core elements of this phase of the process. The former ensures you are attracting the right employees that your organization needs to grow, sustain its current situation or fill a skills gap, while the EVP is the salary and benefits that an employer offers to ensure these key candidates take up a role within your business.
Of course, the amount of resources you set aside for attraction efforts depends on the strategy you've already outlined. But even if you're only planning on bringing a handful of professionals into the company, the marketing surrounding this will be crucial. As well as traditional advertising, content marketing can be an effective way of ensuring the company secures the right candidate for the role.
It's important that in this stage you're also considering the potential use of freelancers, consultants or trainers that could further bolster your workforce and the services of the organization.
Step Three: Retention
Retention generally falls into one of two categories; culture or progression. Pay, although important, is generally more relevant when you're looking at attracting candidates or is closely tied into progression opportunities.
It's often overlooked but onboarding should be an important part of retaining employees. If employers don't show care, attention and support for professionals in the first few weeks and months of their tenancy then it not only sours a potentially good relationship but shakes any confidence the employee may have in an organization's ability to support them long term.
Progression constitutes the training and promotion opportunities available to climb the career ladder but also involves ensuring there's processes in place to enable employees to choose the direction of their career, what areas they want to develop, and extra curricular activities they may want to be involved in.
Culture can be one of the most complex areas for employers to make changes, as there are no quick fixes. Management is key in understanding and improving a company's culture, and should be valued as such by HR. Together these teams can identify how employees feel about working for their employer and the ways it could be better.
Social activities are an obvious way to improve organizational culture but this needs to be aligned with transparency and mutual respect throughout the business and ways to consistently monitor employee morale.
Your talent management process
These three phases should ensure you develop an effective talent management process that works for all employees within - and coming to - the organization. However, most important of all is that it's viewed as an organic and cyclical process, rather than something that can be bashed out and left.
What matters to employees will change over time, even at different points in the year, so it's crucial that you are providing a way for professionals to voice their opinion and have it heard by those capable of making changes. This not only helps you get the most accurate results but shows employees that talent management isn't just about KPIs and data but about making authentic changes that improve your business as an employer.