The 4 steps to a successful talent management strategy

What is potential and how can you spot it?Futuro incerto? Non con Thomas

Every organisation wants to find and keep top talent who match their company culture and drive for success, successful companies achieve this - so can you by actively managing your talent.

Your people are the most important asset in achieving organisational goals, so it’s critical that they are highly engaged and consistently performing to the best of their ability – but this takes work. Talent management is a two-way street: employers need to be proactive in meeting their workforce half-way by giving them the resources to succeed, and employees need to embrace it and make the most of these tools. 

Talent management deserves as much focus as financial capital management in corporations.

Jack Welch, former CEO General Electric

The constant pace of change and increasing competition to recruit and retain the best talent in every business and in every sector highlights the importance of investing in a strong talent management strategy and why it should be at the top of your agenda year in, year out.

In 2015, Jessica Cooper, a research adviser for the Chartered Institute for People Development noted,

Talent management is becoming a higher priority for CEOs with an increased focus on talent development and retention, but talent management spend seems on the whole to have stayed the same (51%).
 

Knowing why you need strong talent management strategy is one thing, but how do you go about creating one? We’ve identified four key steps to give your organisation the competitive edge, from attracting, developing and managing talent to evaluating the success of the strategy.

Attracting the talent

Interviewees are always advised to make a first and lasting impression, but is your company doing the same? When attracting external talent to your organisation, asking yourself the following questions can help you to formulate a strong plan: 

  • How do prospective candidates view your organisation? 
  • How impactful is your employer branding? Is it memorable, unique and evocative?
  • Does your company culture match the high standards of the top talent you desire?
  • What are your existing employees saying about your company? Are they acting as strong ambassadors? Websites like Glassdoor are important for this.

An employer brand is not created; it can only be revealed.

Bryan Chaney, Employment Branding Expert at Indeed.com
 

Share the story of your company culture; being transparent builds trust and ensures your employer branding is authentic. Share real employee stories to provide insight into the core values of your organisation. Utilise your careers page, social media and blogs to broadcast the message - take pride in your staff's viewpoint.

Developing the talent

When approaching talent development, you must avoid taking a passive approach and assuming your workforce will be content where they are or that they will come to you when they’re ready to develop. 

As stated earlier, there has to be proactivity on both sides but an organisation should have processes in place that encourage employee engagement and participation.  Learning and development can take many forms including:”

  • Blended learning 
  • On the job training
  • Formal education courses
  • External conferences/workshops
  • E-learning courses

Using Thomas tools to profile your workforce allows you to explore and map out the competencies, strengths, hard and soft skills and training needs of each individual. They open up opportunities for managers to modify their style to the preferences of their team members, and delegate projects that will maximise the strengths of each individual. By assigning tasks to the most appropriately skilled worker means they will be more satisfied in their role, productivity and engagement will increase, and in turn, the organisation as a whole will benefit from a happier, more productive workforce, who are more likely to want to stay and progress in the organisation.

Managing the talent

Effective talent management needs to align with your business goals, which will drive the quality and quantity of the talent you need. Investment in management and leadership development will positively impact retention rates. The process of succession planning, in particular, helps many organisations in identifying and preparing future potential leaders to fill key positions, and ensures long-term health, growth and stability.  

Other areas to focus on when managing talent include:

  • Team working skills
  • Communication skills
  • Change management
  • Conflict management
  • Emotional intelligence  

Evaluating the talent strategy

It is critical to identify the short and medium term outcomes in order to provide useful early information about the effectiveness of the talent management strategy and enable midcourse corrections.

Scott & Mattson, Strategy-driven Talent Management: A Leadership Imperative
 

Stepping back and reviewing the effectiveness and impact talent management has on your organisation requires both quantitative and qualitative data, that is reliable, valid and robust; it is necessary to ensure the investment is meeting organisational needs.

Focus on analysing retention rates, engagement survey results, employees 360 results and review 1-1 forms. Use this data to understand where there has been success for both individuals and teams and where there could be improvement with the talent strategy; a talent management strategy, like your company and especially your people, is continually evolving and needs regular and structured monitoring.

An organisation’s ability to learn, and translate that learning into action rapidly is the ultimate competitive advantage.

Jack Welch, Former CEO General Electric
 

So how can Thomas help you to enhance and engage the talent you’ve worked hard to bring into your business? The Thomas Global Academy incorporates core product certification and specific focus modules to help you develop and maximise the performance of your people, teams and cultures.

Look out for our upcoming opinion pieces on talent strategy, which will include a whitepaper, digital guide and webinar! 

Ciaran Morton

Ciaran Morton

As an experienced international executive, Ciaran joined Thomas in 2016 as UK MD. Ciaran is responsible for Sales, Operations, Client Services and Performance within the UK, which now also includes Thomas Sport & Education. When not at work he’s a family man, rugby referee, dog walker and music enthusiast.