The words talent and management appear often in various human resources processes—talent acquisition, performance management, learning management and so on—but talent management is all of the above. A talent management strategy takes your best candidates and turns them into your top talent.
What is Talent Management
Talent management looks different for every company because it is based on unique needs, employees and culture. Talent management consists of recruiting, hiring, onboarding, developing employees and succession planning—essentially all HR processes from hire to retire. One company might prioritize recruiting candidates from niche job boards to fill specialized, technical positions, while others might concentrate on learning management to keep workers up to date on the latest building techniques.
Talent management is also an essential tool for employee engagement. The more a company invests in its human capital, the more engaged employees will be, allowing them to successfully fulfill their roles.
Some organizations use a talent management system to help managers and HR professionals track, manage and store employee information. Many talent management systems assist with key HR functions like recruiting, training and development and performance management.
Maximizing the Value of Employees
Why is talent management important? A good talent management process maximizes the value of your employees through workforce planning.
Attracts top talent
Nothing turns the best talent away faster than a clunky, outdated recruitment process. Talent management addresses hiring issues by using applicant tracking technology that simplifies the process, like not requiring candidates to create a log-in and keeping online applications short, less than 10 minutes to complete.
Mitigating turnover begins at the start of the employee journey with onboarding. A good onboarding process gives new employees a clear understanding of position responsibilities, manager expectations and company policies and procedures. Using online, paperless onboarding software streamlines the entire process and eliminates data input errors.
When performance management is made part of the regular employee experience, instead of just once-per-year, more goals are achieved. Managers that use a performance management system can track employee goals and performance in real time, making sure those goals are met and any that go off-track can quickly be righted.
Employee learning and development plans give your employees the ability to learn new techniques, allowing them to grow their skills. Employees who stay up to date on the latest trends and tools will always drive innovation. Learning development software allows companies to upload custom learning plans, OSHA approved courses and certifications.
Succession planning sets your employees on a growth path within your company and lets them know you are invested in their careers. Succession planning software allows employers to identify the core competencies of standout employees and customize development plans just for them. When employees feel like they have a future with a company, they’ll be motivated to grow with their employer.
The Talent Management Process Explained
The talent management process isn’t a track that only goes one way. Experts say to think of it as cyclical rather than linear. According to HR Technologist, the key steps for talent management include planning, attracting, selecting, developing, retaining and transitioning. All these steps work in a circle, instead of a line, with organizational strategies going in and performance and outcomes coming out.
Planning is the first step. Workforce planning helps companies identify skills gaps and develop a plan to recruit or promote talent to fill those gaps. Planning includes writing job descriptions and identifying avenues for sourcing talent, like job boards or employee referrals.
The next step is deciding how to attract the best talent. Using an ATS that automatically posts job descriptions to multiple job boards, social media platforms and your website helps keep talent pools filled. For companies working with the federal government or EEO employers, compliance starts here with tracking and reporting on good faith efforts.
Once a company has selected its top candidates, the next step is to determine which candidates will fit in with existing teams and the company culture. Tests can include written tests, interviews with team members and management, and even personality tests. An AI recruiting assistant can automatically schedule interviews and update employees on the selection process, keeping them engaged in the position.
Developing employees includes training them to allow them to grow within their position and also with the organization. An effective onboarding process ensures new employees are settled into the role by getting paperwork out of the way before day one. Employees start the job ready to learn the position and their responsibilities. Employers can supplement the onboarding process with coaching and mentoring new employees.
Employee retention is an essential step. Otherwise, all the time invested in the first four steps is wasted. Recognizing employees for their hard work is a good start but so are promotions and compensation. Performance management systems can not only help track and identify high performers but can also gauge employee satisfaction.
Transitioning is a natural extension of retention. You want your employees to know you value them by offering benefits and compensation, but if they do decide to leave, this step involves exit interviews. Exit interviews allow employers to track turnover and highlight any problems or issues the company might not be aware of, including those concerning managers.
How to Build and Measure a Talent Management Strategy
When building a talent management strategy, employers need to consider what workflows will look like within the six steps above. A good process to follow includes:
- Identify business strategy, priorities, objectives and goals. Think about long-term goals and consider whether there are new directions to head toward.
- Pinpoint motivators and challenges. Think about your company’s internal and external challenges. Have there been industry changes? Compliance changes? Technology issues? Or a change in employee behavior?
- Plan a gap analysis. Visualize where you want to be in the future and evaluate where you currently are. Do you have enough employees to allow you to meet your goals? If one employee leaves, will the company have to scramble to cover his or her work? Employers need to identify the risks of not addressing these gaps.
- Define HR priorities and objectives. Once challenges and goals are pinpointed, make sure they’re aligned with HR to develop SMART goals. SMART is defined as Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic/relevant and Time-bound. When measuring the success of their talent management strategy, businesses should include both the implementation and effectiveness ratings.
- Measure your results. As mentioned above, SMART goals include KPIs that help you track progress. Work with both leading and lagging KPIs as leading helps predict effectiveness and lagging help drive decisions. After you evaluate results, be sure they’re communicated to the entire team to provide transparency.
Actionable Talent Management Strategies for 2021
Once you define your talent management objectives and create a strategy, you need to figure out which strategies can be put into action for 2021. If you’re not sure where to start, consider downloading Arcoro’s Ultimate HR Trends for 2021.
Reevaluate the Employee Experience
A bad employee experience leads to a lack of qualified candidates and increased turnover. Make reevaluating your employee experience part of your 2021 talent management strategy. It starts with setting a goal to improve the application process (measurable by more skilled applicants), provide development opportunities for employees, especially your Millennial workers, and make sure all employee-facing software is mobile-friendly with 24/7 access to your HR system.
Maintain Compliance at Every Talent Management Stage
HR departments must be compliant with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), OSHA, sexual harassment, anti-discrimination laws and more. Strategies must be implemented to maintain compliance at hiring, onboarding and post-hire stages.
Actionable items for 2021 could include procuring an ATS that supports recruiting processes with automating job postings, making sure all postings have required EEO taglines, distributes jobs to veteran-specific boards and provides back-end reporting. Implement onboarding procedures that require employees to sign off upon reading company policies and submit their own I-9s and W4s.
Post-hire compliance includes staying updated on all IRS forms, training and certifications, and tracking compensation.
Remove Time Constraints on HR
HR teams that spend hours interacting and scheduling candidates could benefit from AI investments. AI candidate recruiting tools take over tasks that can bog down a small HR department. AI can interact with candidates through text, webchats and landing pages, schedule interviews and answer top candidate and new hire questions. Not only can AI improve the candidate experience, essential to get the employee started off right, but it can also free up time for HR to focus on big picture items like filling skills gaps and employee retention strategies.
Focus on Developing Soft Skills
According to research by Adecco, 44% of the executives surveyed think Americans are lacking critical soft skills such as communication, creativity, collaboration and critical thinking. Soft skills are essential to building a strong team and potential leaders. These skills aren’t technical, they’re behavioral.
Implement development strategies to improve employees’ communication, critical thinking and leadership skills. Employees can be trained on listening, negotiation, nonverbal communication, presentation, storytelling, writing skills and public speaking. Critical thinking development includes honing skills that deal with observation, analysis, influence and problem-solving. Improving leadership skills includes educating employees through online courses, social and interactive platforms and traditional institutions.
Improve Employee Engagement
Ninety-one percent of companies believe an annual review is core to employee engagement. Regular performance management is an actionable strategy to improve engagement. Schedule consistent meetings with employees to hear feedback, check on how they’re doing, what they’re doing well and what needs improvement.
Employer/employee meetings need to be collaborative, or a two-way street. Including employees in the performance review process helps keep them motivated to do great work. Once the review is over, set three to four actionable goals for both the employee and the manager.
Emphasize Work/Life Balance
Promoting a company culture that accounts for your employees’ work/life balance is more important now than ever. Achievement and enjoyment are at the core of work/life balance, so offering flexibility that allows employees to find both is key. For most companies, work/life balance measures include encouraging employees to take PTO, reducing the amount of after-hours communication and communicating about schedule changes, i.e., letting the team know you need to pick up the kids early or take the cat to the vet, or that you’ll be offline for a couple of hours.
For those employees who do hands-on work, like construction or retail, offer tech breaks so employees can check messages or make appointments. Got a crew working together to finish a project? Let them set their own schedule. Offer an attractive PTO package so employees actually have enough vacation days to balance their lives.
Once you define and set your talent management strategy for 2021, consider whether you have the tools to implement them. Arcoro offers a Free HR Assessment that allows you to see the effectiveness of your current HR processes. The assessment will answer questions like:
- With so much competition, how can I make my employer brand more attractive to candidates?
- How can I develop a retention-focused onboarding plan?
- What reports should I utilize for compliance purposes?
- Are there gaps in my training programs?
- Now that I’m saving time on paperwork, what strategic initiatives should I take on next?
Once you see where your processes might be lacking, Arcoro’s modular solutions can improve them, from attracting and hiring to developing, retaining and retiring the best employees. Contact us more information.