What is Talent Management?
Talent management is a phrase used to describe the organised process and strategy of finding the right talent to fill the right roles at the right time.
Talent management covers the entire employee lifecycle. From identifying talent gaps within a business to shortlisting suitable candidates and interviewing them for a role, then onboarding them and retaining staff.
In this way, talent management joins HR and recruitment together and is designed to align with the strategic objectives and business goals of a company to create a workplace of high performance.
Talent can mean individuals outside a business who can make a positive impact - either immediately or through extra training - that can be hired to fill a vacant position. Talent can also mean existing staff with skills and strengths that could be redeployed or trained up to higher levels of potential so that they contribute effectively to the business goals and objectives.
A successful talent management system, therefore, will include integrated talent acquisitions, training and other HR processes that work over an employees lifespan with a business to ensure better productivity, less staff turnover, a diverse and inclusive culture, and - perhaps most importantly - higher profitability.
Why Is Talent Management Important?
Talent management can make or break a business. Top skills needed for most businesses are becoming harder to recruit for. Creating a talent management program that is robust, scalable and reliable means skills gaps get filled by the best employees available.
Talent management empowers HR and recruiters to remain in contact with job seekers, and headhunt candidates who match job role criteria. The talent management system helps provide insight into employee skills so that the most qualified and proficient talent can be onboarded in the first place.
Talent management ensures that internal candidates are available for consideration for these new skilled roles, and that staff are kept 'in the loop' about their opportunities and chances for development.
With the right talent management strategy in place, a business can ensure that they hire, engage, retain and motivate the talent they need, right through to the end of the employee lifecycle.
What Are The Key Benefits Of Talent Management?
There are several benefits to effective talent management, both for the employer and the employee.
For the employer, managing talent effectively makes a brand more attractive and encourages a high performing culture. Creating a salary and benefits package that makes a business look like the perfect place for top talent to work is just part of the talent acquisition journey - recruiters need to know that they are creating a workforce that has the right skills, knowledge, education and experience for success.
The right talent management strategy looks at data-driven ways of choosing the right talent in the first place - through in-depth application forms, strict criteria for the paper sift, and the efficient use of psychometric and aptitude testing. Before talent is interviewed for a role, the recruitment team will already know that the applicant has the required key skills and competencies, meeting the criteria for future success.
This data-driven recruitment strategy that plays a key role in talent management helps to ensure that diversity and inclusion are simple to achieve - the top performers are chosen by their skills and knowledge, without any unconscious bias because the criteria are based on talent and performance.
The analytics used in the recruitment stage also feeds into managing staff, redeploying where necessary and training for leadership. Making better business decisions through data and analysis rather than through 'gut feel' is another benefit of using the right talent management system.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly to the budget-conscious HR team, talent management can help minimize attrition. With better employee engagement - and ensuring the right talent is in a role at the right time - businesses can rely on less turnover, which leads to more productivity, higher performance, and better profits. Related to this is the need for strategic succession planning, which is necessary for senior roles or for positions that require specialised knowledge.
What's the Difference Between Talent Acquisition and Talent Management?
Talent acquisition is a process dedicated to finding qualified and skilled employees through specific advertising on job boards, using social media and referrals, and refining the application process to find the best applicants.
Talent management, on the other hand, is about retaining and training employees, developing skills, and professional development. Talent management is a longer, more cyclical process that is more about the life of the employee, making the most of internal talent as much as external talent.
Both talent acquisition and talent management work hand in hand for the best interests of the company, finding and keeping the most talented individuals. They work together, relying on the skills of the employee and the company's overall commitment to finding skilled candidates.
Talent acquisition and talent management have to work together because they are crucial to the long-term success of a company.
Talent Management Process
In almost all cases, effective talent management processes tend to be somewhat cyclical rather than linear, with the same basic stages, which involve:
- Building talent pools
- Leadership development
- Lifelong learning and career management
- Deployment and redeployment
- Employee engagement
- Employee retention
- Succession planning
What Is a Talent Management System?
A talent management system is a process that includes all aspects of candidate selection (and pre-selection), onboarding and initial training, then engaging and retaining the employee through development and communication.
The best talent management systems can be managed online and provide a seamless way to manage an employee lifecycle from pre-selection until retirement, containing all the essential information (like HR-related details and pay, for example) as well as information about skills, strengths, training opportunities and development requirements.
For some businesses, this might be in one CRM-type software platform, or it might be several integrated dashboards that work hand-in-hand.
How To Create A Talent Management Strategy
There are several key steps to consider when creating a talent management strategy - these will help you decide what is important to the talent management in your brand.
1. Planning - you need to understand what gaps there are in the business, and what talent you are missing to fill those gaps.
2. Attracting - what does your business need to do in order to encourage talent, whether internal or external. This includes creating an attractive employer brand, advertising openings on the right job boards, working with referrals, and creating an efficient talent acquisition strategy.
3. Selection - through a process of psychometric and skills testing, interviews, group exercises and case studies, as well as collecting other information (i.e. aggregating data from social media sites) to get a complete picture of each candidate.
4. Developing - many businesses have the idea to 'hire for attitude, train for skills', and this is why development is an important part of any talent management process. It is much harder to develop someone who does not fit into the company culture than it is to upskill the candidate with the right mindset.
5. Retaining - retaining the right talent is key to sustained success, and this is something that comes from a combination of the right salary, benefits and bonuses as well as opportunities for growth, selection for special projects, and involvement in decision-making.
6. Transitioning - taking the employee to the next level in their career, whether that is a move into leadership or a side-step into another department. This is where succession planning, especially for top-level executives and positions needing specific skills and knowledge is important, so the business can be prepared to fill retirement vacancies promptly.
Examples Of Digital Talent Management
Talent management does not have to follow the same process for every business - and in fact, some companies will need different ways to find, recruit and retain talent.
In Silicon Valley, Google is recognised as a top employer - and their talent management process reflects that position.
The recruitment process involves a variety of aptitude tests, different types of interviews, and can take a long time. In fact, many Google employees will be headhunted from their current roles when they are recognised as being top performers.
Google is an attractive employer because they are known for offering ways of improving work-life balance - from flexible working to staff perks that include free food, an onsite gym, and even nap pods in the office.
Alongside these benefits, internal growth opportunities and development are the expected standards, with extensive performance management using people analysis and data collection to ensure limited staff turnover.
This top legal and consulting brand offers a Flexible Talent Network which allows employees to choose their own work pattern and ensures that the company can get and keep the right talent when they need it most.
PwC also believes that talent management is a strategy that is needed at every level in the business, not just the C-Suite, making sure that they can meet the investor requirements for diversity and inclusion.
As a consultancy, PwC is also excellently placed to provide advice on updating HR processes and creating the most appropriate talent management strategy to suit your business.
Well-known in the tech world for being a company that does not follow 'the rules' when it comes to HR processes and procedures, Netflix follows logic and common sense rather than any really structured talent management system.
From its inception, Netflix grew and changed from a disc-based subscription service to the biggest streaming site in the US (and in most of the rest of the world). Not only does Netflix set out to recruit the most skilled employees - often headhunting them for places like Google, Amazon and Microsoft - but if the role develops and the skills are out of date, then they will either find them a more suitable position or get rid of the employee (with an excellent sewerage package).
In this fast-changing workplace, there are no formal review processes, but discussions about performance are an ongoing and organic part of day-to-day work. There are no vacation limits, and no expense or travel policy - all employees are trusted to 'act in Netflix's best interests'.
In this way, talent management is organic and changes to suit the differing needs of the business, making sure that the team surrounding all employees consists of the very best talent, headhunted and recruited or redeployed and reskilled.
What Are The Four Key Elements Of Talent Management?
The four key elements of talent management that should be used to inform the recruitment and development HR strategy of a business include:
- Acquire - through having a strong and attractive employer brand, making the recruitment process easier and utilising effective onboarding tools, businesses can find the right talent, when they need it.
- Assess - tests and assessments are useful in recruitment, but they also help in development and training. Assessing also forms an important part of succession planning, too.
- Develop - it is often cheaper, faster and more effective to fill talent gaps with internal candidates, so the development of the skills, strengths and interests of existing employees should be a necessary part of any talent management system. Developing also includes planning for workforce changes, improving culture, and increasing engagement and retention processes.
- Deploy - getting the right talent into the right role - at the right time - could be seen as the most important outcome of a talent management system. The deployment of talent needs to align with the goals of the business and match the career path and performance management needs of the individual employee, too.
What Are The Core Challenges Of Talent Management?
Several challenges are faced by companies who are looking to improve or implement talent management systems.
Firstly, the demand for specific skills in the workplace is much higher than the qualified or experienced employees available. This imbalance of demand vs supply means that attracting the proficient and skilled talent that is needed can be a challenge.
Finding the right hiring processes can be another challenge for talent management. One of the ways that this can be avoided is by using internships or graduate schemes to install and train the brightest minds straight out of education.
Choosing the right strategy to suit the business and keeping it flexible enough to deal with developments in tech, software and other innovations is another issue that needs careful consideration. Using AI and automation to make certain parts of the talent management system faster and easier is part of this challenge, too.
What Are The Best Tools For Effective Talent Management?
The best tools for talent management are well-integrated and easy to use, with all you need to be stored safely and securely in an easy to use dashboard.
You will need software systems or standalone programs that can work in combination with HR resources.
Think about integrating systems like:
- Job boards
- Email marketing (contact with potential candidates and keeping in touch with those going through the process).
- Pre-employment assessments and interview platforms
- Learning and development
All these tools are part of a comprehensive talent management system.
What Are Some Top Talent Management Strategy Resources?
For a way to source talent from a global candidate pool, Picked offers data-driven assessments including aptitude, personality, behavioral and skills. Alongside these tests, are virtual interviews through an included online platform. Through algorithms and benchmarks, the Picked system allows for bias-free matching of talent to the specific roles of a business.
HelloTalent is a well-regarded talent management system with a clear and straightforward dashboard that integrates social media aggregation with emails, CV parsing, and scalable recruiting tools.
ADP is a complete HR solution, offering business access to all the company, state and federal forms needed - and the storage for all the important personal data too. With custom fields available, businesses can have all the essential details to hand whenever they need them.
For enterprise-level businesses, SAP SuccessFactors is designed to integrate with other SAP software, like product management and resource planning. This isn't the cheapest talent management solution, but it is great for large scale career planning and efficient