Talent Management Strategy

The key to survival in dynamic business times of today is flexible strategizing. The term ‘strategy’ in essence has some hint of rigidity, that comes with schematic planning. But an unbending stratagem is futile to tackle business pitfalls. Here, absence of appropriate talent management measures is the greatest peril of all times. Substandard management strategy of your company’s lofty asset – talented workforce, reflects not only on business value but also dissipates all associated resources. This underscores its magnitude of influence. 

The responsibility falls jointly on the human resource department and the C-suite executives to device a flexible talent management strategy. Building such strategies specially require the prowess of the HR department. 

The aim of this article is to guide companies in building a talent strategy for themselves. We also highlight the significance of every minute step and identify each component of the strategy. 

The Need for Talent Management Strategy

The talent you hire becomes the biggest, most valuable resource for your company. A talented workforce can turn tables around when it comes to meeting business goals and providing competitive performance output. Yet, finding and onboarding talent remains an unconquered terrain for most organizations. 

A 2005 survey by Deloitte Consulting underlines this aspect. It shows that organizations struggle with hiring and retaining appropriate talent, which meets their company goals and aspirations.1 

In today’s talent-thirsty business atmosphere, HRs have to build strategies driven to aid the process of talent management. Aware of the influence of a cogent talent management strategy, companies are allocating adequate resources and research to build the same. 

A 2010 study (by Scullion et al) reported that 74% of organizations and 83% large organizations recognized sound talent management strategies as key to attain company goals. 2

Gradually, studies further analysed that success of implementing powerful talent management practices was visible on company profits as well. 

Boston Consulting Group (BCG) research, which interviewed senior executives of 1200 companies worldwide, spotted a connection between talent management practices and financial behaviour. It illustrated that companies, with a good score on 20 talent management practices and leadership factors multiplied their revenues 2.2 times and raised their profits 1.5 times quicker, in comparison to those companies rated as weakest. 3

All these studies pin-point to the positive influence of sophisticated, future-oriented, game changing talent management strategy on business functions. Moreover, they prove that well rounded talent management practices, interlaced with business strategy are the principal enabler to –

  • Sustained long term performance
  • Meeting future demands of business
  • Identifying critical organizational goals 

Understanding Talent Management Strategy and How to Implement It?

A talent management strategy is a well structured course of action, assembled with planned proceedings, aimed to optimise employee operations and performance. This briefly explains the objective of talent management strategy. Along with this specific aim, its general goal is to improve business performance. Ergo, it becomes obligatory to have the talent management strategy in synchronisation with business/organizational strategies. 

Michael Custers, NGA Vice President of Strategic Marketing also opines, “Business leaders should ensure that they have a talent management program in place across the entire employee life cycle. They should ensure that this program is linked directly to the wider business strategy. And then they should ensure that they have the means in place to deliver the strategy, by installing efficient HR processes, smart HR technologies and solid HR services.”

As straightforward as it may seem, your talent strategy has numerous components attached to it. This makes this strategy all the more layered and intricate. It incorporates every aspect and process of talent management, like-

  1. Attracting
  2. Orientation
  3. On-boarding
  4. Learning and development (L&D)
  5. Employee engagement
  6. Retention

Each of these practices run to strengthen and support the talent within your organization. But the HR professionals have to plan and manifest these practices in a manner which complement the bigger picture – the business strategy. This is the preferred way to implement your talent management strategy. Along with overseeing workforce affairs, it should be oriented in an auxiliary fashion to the business strategy at large. 

As per Peter Cappelli, Professor of Management at Wharton, “Aligning talent practices to business strategy has turned out to be next to impossible because business strategies are less and less clear, and they change all the time.” 

Talent strategy has to be well connected with the business strategy so as to increase return on investment. Your talent management strategy, just like your business strategy, has to involve strategic investment. Your talent management strategy should ideally invest in –

Identifying demands of critical roles – 

Talent management has to recognize those roles exigent to organizational and business strategy. 

Making choices of where to invest in – 

After identification of pivotal roles in business, your strategy should pin-point to fundamental investment needed to meet the demands of these roles. 

These two major areas of investment subsume all the six processes and aspects of talent management, listed above.

How to Build a Talent Management Strategy

Building a talent management strategy is not a candid affair. Firstly, define what is ‘talent’ according to your organization? Then ask which part of your business is in need of talent? Invigilate if your talent pipeline is smooth and obstruction free. Finally, inspect the talent strategy – Which talent management strategy is best for your organization? Do different parts of your business need individual talent strategies? Many tiny segments, like such, have to be fabricated into one single framework. This requires –

1. Identification of business goals 

With a clear understanding of your business goals, the talent demand will naturally come forth. Proceeding in this manner, the strategic priorities can be erected. The HRM can focus on specific company domains distinctly, as accentuated with strategic priorities. From here onwards,  the emphasis shifts to simplify strategic priorities into talent management practices. These include recruitment, engagement and development of a workforce in compliance with strategic priorities; which in turn contribute to business goals. 

2. Understanding challenges to your business 

Both the strength and weakness of your organization, along with evitable and inevitable challenges faced, need to be laid out before conceiving either a business or a talent strategy. This provides perspective and a multi-dimensional point of view to the policy makers. Bringing out the pain points of your business will reveal the requisite steps obligatory for rectification and improvement. 

3. Scrutinise talent pool within the organisation to identify gaps  

HRs have to maintain a regular vigilance of the talent pool. Your talent management process may be incompetent or non-inclusive in some aspects. For example, inadequate digitization of processes can hinder the workings of many business domains. As a solution, utilization of technology and training the workforce to make its optimum use will aid to accomplish both your strategic priorities and talent management goal. 

4. Developing your company culture 

Your company culture is not only reflected internally but is also visible on the outside, through employer branding and employee value proposition (EVP). Both these, significantly impactful business practices, are modeled with knowledge of aims, ethics, and principles guiding your business. Largely, the internal company culture is also organized of these three essential components. 

5. Undertaking talent development activities 

Talent development is made up of those activities undertaken to improve, enhance and educate your workforce. Mentoring, guiding, training, counseling all fall under the broad umbrella of talent development. Employee engagement plays a significant role here. Engaged employees –

  • Take personal initiative to learn and implement policies 
  • Are more creative and open to new challenges
  • Closely relate to the organization – its goals, culture, aspirations, demands, etc.
  • Make individual and combined team efforts to achieve targets .

An ever-evolving workforce will be more mature and stable, reflect positively on the company’s retention rate, and inculcate a progressive mindset. This is highly advantageous to company culture and goodwill. 

6. Synchronising business demand with adequate talent 

It is not merely the recruitment of a potential candidate, that guarantees his/her success in fulfilling job demands. HR professionals have to diligently identify his skills, pipeline them into various processes and domains. 

All these cords mentioned above, have to be brought together into one fully functioning management strategy, to masterfully meet the needs of the workforce and the business demands. 

Your talent management strategy has to be comprehensive enough to find and enrol the best candidate, identify and enhance his skills to match job roles, nurture him to execute responsibilities and finally retain him.  

Building the Best Talent Management Strategy

The way you handle talent at your workplace, has to operate according to a strategy – one that is aimed to maximize employee potential. A rule of thumb is to erect a talent strategy that supports and drives the business strategy at large. Primarily, it should meet the paramount objectives of talent recruitment, development and retention. Organizations with such an outlook benefit from a talent strategy because it is – 

  • Purpose-driven
  • Comprehensive of all business processes
  • Undertakes all units of business
  • Performance aligned 
  • Identifies, develops,nurtures and retains talent

This shows that HR professionals have to strategically handle talent. All nuance that makes up a game-changing talent strategy must conceptualize current and future business demands. Hence, engaging, guiding, tuning, developing and retaining the workforce is crucial. 

Every organisation runs its own unique strategy to manage talent. Any established workforce management approach you adopt, automatically becomes custom-made and tailored to fit your organization. Thereby, all enterprises add a layer of finesse and detailing to each basic step. To build the best talent management strategy, given below are five conventional processes and angles to examine-

1. Recruitment and Talent Hunt

Talent acquisition, if executed seamlessly, not only supplies a competitive edge but also turns into a major differentiator. Therefore, it should incorporate and address all levels within the organisation. Your talent recruitment strategy has to be in alignment with your organizational strategy. The recruitment process should be initiated in a well-planned manner. All necessary resources should be allocated to it and not only should it appeal to attract the talent pool but also meet their priorities and expectations. Nonetheless, recruitment policies have to be flexible enough to adapt to changing scenarios.

The headhunters and the HR recruitment board ought to work in close quarters with the marketing team, so as to approach the budding, potential talent pool. Similarly, enough thought should be ascribed to employer branding. If fully harnessed, it can transform into the single-most influential asset of your organization. The best employer branding is potent enough to convey your company’s aspirations, emotions, ideas and promises (employee value proposition). 

2. Promote leadership behaviour

A major contributing factor to a high-performance company culture is the promotion of leadership behaviours. Those at the executive and management level have to amass and proceed in a collaborative fashion. Moreover, they should become the epitome of your company’s values and ethics. Naturally they must teach and guide their subordinates. Regular assessment of those at the executive levels helps to keep these preferred leadership behaviours in check.

For the execution of talent strategy, the ownership has to be shared among all, i.e. from top to bottom in your organizational hierarchy. A sense of shared responsibility has to persist from the C-suite executives (decision makers) to the line managers (policy enforcers), to the HR managers and finally reach talent.  

3. Regard for Collective and Individual Effort

Neither of your company processes should work in silos. Every strategy or plan of action has to be intertwined with other significant operations. Likewise, there must exist a sense of belonging and collectivism within the workforce. A  superior talent management strategy caters to individual and collective benefit of talent. Success lies not only in developing talent individually, but in cultivating a sense of mutual co-existence, respect, collaboration, trust and collectivism. With individual talent growth, the need to develop a collective spirit within your organization is equally grave.

4. Develop and Engage Talent

Hiring talent is only the tip of the iceberg. There are a significant other undertakings that work to maintain, nourish and replenish your workforce. Here, strategies for developing and engaging come into play.

  • Talent development is able to recognize the ambitious and sincere employees. 
  • Continuous opportunities of learning and growth aid this talent to propagate multiple skills. This in turn becomes a source of satisfaction and trust for them. 

Hence, it is only in the presence of learning opportunities and growth that employee retention can be maximized. 

A workforce engrossed in stimulating projects and processes is reflective of their commitment, involvement and sincerity. Engaged employees are more responsible, attached, motivated, loyal, industrious and productive. To enhance the engagement process, companies make use of collaborative tools, so as to boost conversation, innovation and involvement. 

An engaged and continually developing workforce is a supreme tool for talent management. 

5. Retention Policies

The ultimate goal of any talent management strategy is to decrease the employee turnover rate. A lower turnover rate indicates towards the presence of successful business and talent strategies. 

Furthermore, retention becomes important due to a myriad of factors associated with it. These associated variables include –

  •  company reputation,
  •  the expense born to onboard and hire talent and 
  • the entire organisational productivity

To positively influence these variables, a combination of different methods and strategies is brought to use. These are –

  • Pay
  • Benefits
  • Conducive company culture
  • Learning and development opportunities

An amalgamation of these four factors, used strategically, will ensure employee retention and complete the talent management strategy. 

These five vital facets are the broad branches that contribute to your company’s talent management model. Since your talent management consists of these strategies, they should be able to supply answers to all workforce related concerns.   

Conclusion

An effective talent management strategy has a visible impact on the way your workforce functions. It is the course of action that leads to better employee management. Therefore, this strategy has associated branches with numerous aspects of business. Expectedly, the repercussions of a poorly structured talent strategy are visible on a workforce functioning in a haphazard and clumsy routine. To avoid such a fate, all talent management activities ought to proceed in accordance to a pre-planned, all inclusive talent model. This makes your talent strategy future oriented, adaptive to a dynamic environment and comprehensive of non-bureaucratic but robust plans.

HR leaders have begun to identify the implications of erecting a talent strategy which is directly proportional to enhanced business performance and employee satisfaction. The ultimate aim of winning the war for talent, with a talent strategy is to meet organizational goals, with onboarding, engagement and involvement of a talent (internal and external to the organizations).

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