Employees are the lifeblood of any business. If they’re not performing optimally, the business suffers. Talent management optimizes employee performance and ensures it’s always improving, which keeps your company forever on the cutting edge, never growing stagnant.
In this post, we break down 7 proven talent management strategies for attracting, retaining and developing top talent.
Talent management is the continual process of attracting and retaining excellent employees, helping them to develop their skills, and providing the resources and motivation they need to continuously improve their performance. It’s also one of HR’s most essential responsibilities.
For your talent management to be as effective as possible, you need a clear, comprehensive talent management strategy.
A talent management strategy is your methodical plan of action for enhancing the effectiveness and efficiency of your team. It ensures your talent management practices are optimized and in line with your company culture, values, and organizational objectives. It involves identifying gaps in your current workforce to strategically attract, onboard, develop, support, and retain the right talent.
Without an effective talent management strategy, your company will fail to stay competitive. In other words, your company will fail. The stakes are that high.
The talent management process never stops. It encompasses each employee’s entire time with the company, from the moment they’re hired to the moment they leave. As the business, as well as technology and society at large, continues to rapidly develop, so will the need for new talent and skill development.
There are six key steps to the talent management process.
- Planning: Identify where your talent gaps lie. What key roles are necessary? What expertise is required? What’s the job description?
- Attracting: Build a talent pool both internally and externally. How can you attract new employees, and how can you encourage current employees to learn new skills and take on new responsibilities?
- Selecting: Choose the right person for the job with interviews, written tests, and background checks.
- Developing: Don’t allow your team to grow stagnant. Build a continuous improvement mindset into your company culture with an effective onboarding process, performance reviews, and consistent opportunities for coaching and skill development.
- Retaining: Keep your employees happy where they are by offering growth opportunities and consistent employee recognition.
- Transitioning: Employees won’t stay with your company forever. Effective succession planning, exit interviews, and retirement benefits are essential. Learning why employee turnover is occurring can give HR insight into any issues that weren’t otherwise obvious and maintain the health of your company’s reputation.
Talent management must not be overlooked. Let’s break down some of the top strategies for maintaining a thriving workforce.
The onboarding process is a crucial time in any new hire’s experience with your company. First impressions matter. If they arrive at work on their first day and discover a disorganized, frantic, and stressful work environment, they’ll already be thinking about where to apply next.
Onboarding helps new team members get familiar with your company culture while also giving them the tools and resources they need to hit the ground running, mitigating the “trial by fire” feeling all new hires have.
The onboarding process has a major impact on the confidence with which new hires approach their new role, so it’s imperative that it be well-defined and comprehensive, making the employee feel like they’re supported and set up for success.
Give your new employees every advantage by letting them know exactly what to expect ahead of time. A comprehensive onboarding process might include company guidelines, style guides, brand guides, calendars, password access, office tours, welcome swag, clearly defined role responsibilities, and an opportunity for the employee to express their own goals for the role.
Building an onboarding process will take time, but it’s well worth the investment. Plus, once you build the process, you can continue to use it over and over again, tweaking it with improvements as you learn more about the needs of your team and new hires.
For more information on onboarding, check out 9 best practices for onboarding new employees.
An effective talent management strategy emphasizes the important role company culture plays in building a happy and productive team.
Company culture is often a leading driver in whether an employee feels like they’re a good fit with the business or if they choose to look for employment elsewhere. Offering competitive wages is not enough – when it comes to talent acquisition, your company is competing against the company culture of other similar workplaces.
A survey of over 5,000 workers found that 77% consider a company’s culture when choosing a workplace.
What do you have to offer that other companies don’t? What makes your business a delightful place to work? What keeps your employees committed to your company so much so that they don’t even consider other employment opportunities?
Company culture encompasses your brand values, team building opportunities, how you treat each other, how you approach feedback, vacation policies, your stance on work-life balance, and so much more.
And whether you like it or not, your company already has a culture, and it will continue to evolve with or without your direction. This is why HR professionals like yourself must be intentional when building a culture that aligns with your company’s brand values, and attracts and retains top employees.
Your company culture should be felt in all parts of the company, from new hires to business owners – no one is exempt, no matter their seniority.
Even if you’ve been intentional about your company culture in the past, it’s always evolving, and it can change for the worse if you’re not careful. Take time to assess your current company culture to determine what’s missing and how you can improve. And remember – employee engagement is an absolute must when it comes to company culture. Ask your employees how they feel about your company culture and what they want to see in the future.
For example, offering a floating mental health or balance day for employees to take whenever they need it will prove to employees that you value their wellness. This builds a culture around prioritizing both physical and mental health.
Learn more about why building a healthy company culture must be intentional.
Ensure development opportunities play a key role in your talent management strategy, as this will reduce turnover rate, improving your employee retention.
Employees don’t want to feel stagnant in their career. Ensuring everyone on your team has opportunities to develop and grow within your company will prevent them from looking for those development opportunities elsewhere.
The benefits of investing in training programs are twofold. Beyond your employees feeling fulfilled in their career development, the business sees direct benefits as well. Building the skill sets of your team makes your business more effective, as it will be filled with high-performing employees who have a continuous improvement mindset. More skills and knowledge for your team improves their adaptability, which enhances the effectiveness and efficiency of the entire company.
Build a robust development program that’s multi-faceted, including technological skills, soft skills, career advancement opportunities, networking opportunities, education, and personal development.
Don’t forget to get your team’s opinions and ideas. How do they hope to grow and advance their career within your company? What development opportunities are they looking for?
Every employee wants to feel recognized. Celebrating employees when they succeed or reach a milestone makes them feel like they’re a valuable member of the team as opposed to a disposable lemming. No one wants to feel as though they’re just another number or brick in the wall.
If success is met with a collective shrug from managers and HR, team members will consider other workplaces. And don’t only recognize top performers. Constantly seeing the same people succeed will sow resentment among team members. Top talent should, of course, be rewarded for their hard work, but it’s important to remember that every employee contributes something unique to your workplace.
Encourage managers to think about how they can recognize every team member. For example, who regularly goes above and beyond to make sure every fellow employee feels welcome and included? Who makes sure the coffee is always fresh or that the workplace kitchen is always clean?
Recognizing and rewarding employees, even if it’s a simple shout out in an email, makes people feel seen. And people don’t only want to be recognized once. They’ll want to be celebrated again and again, which encourages a continuous improvement mindset and company loyalty. Why would someone look for work somewhere else when they know they’re already a treasured member of your company?
Talent management often begins well before new talent is onboarded or even hired.
A huge aspect of successful talent management is to have a pool of qualified candidates to choose from both internally and externally. Building a talent pool you can pull from in an emergency saves time when you’re left scrambling and reduces the likelihood of a bad hire.
Optimizing the talent pool within your organization is also beneficial, as you can help your current team grow and expand within the business. Instead of constantly looking for replacements and retraining, you can help your current team develop into higher levels within the company.
Performance reviews are vital to talent management, but they’re not easy. If handled poorly, they can quickly result in hurt feelings and resentment. As any HR professional knows, when employees feel unfairly singled out, at best, it can cause major headaches for HR, and at worst, it will result in team members looking for employment elsewhere.
However, when handled well, performance reviews can inspire company loyalty as well as effective personal and professional development.
To effectively manage all parts of the talent management lifecycle, HR needs a talent management system that streamlines end-to-end employee goals and development, from initial recruitment to exit interviews.
When utilized correctly, talent management software can revolutionize the way your company handles performance management and reignite productivity.
The best talent management software includes learning management and succession planning capabilities, applicant tracking, and performance management, which helps companies give continuous, transparent feedback.
Your employees – past and present – will talk, which means your business is building a reputation, either good or bad, surrounding the employee experience at your company.
If your employees are happy working for you, it’s a walking advertisement for your company. The more satisfied your employees are with their work and your company culture, the more likely they are to brag about it to their friends, family, acquaintances and your own customers.
Talent acquisition begins internally with the satisfaction of your current employees. Take time to assess how your team members feel about their respective roles, your company culture, and the company as a whole. Look at hard metrics like retention, surveys, and performance reviews.
How can you improve the employee experience? In the unfortunate event a team member leaves you, complete an exit interview and offboarding review to better understand why they are leaving and how the workplace can improve.
A comprehensive talent management strategy attracts and retains top talent and optimizes the performance of current employees. HR professionals must continuously seek out new employees and develop the expertise of employees, new and old.
Let’s go over these effective talent management strategies one more time:
- Create a top-notch onboarding process
- Showcase your company culture
- Provide development opportunities
- Recognize and celebrate employee success
- Develop your talent pool
- Invest in the right performance review software
- Build a positive reputation
We have some helpful resources to get you started:
- The complete guide to effective employee referral programs
- 20 employee engagement survey questions (and why to ask them)
- The ultimate guide to superior performance reviews
The HRMorning website is filled with tools and resources to help human resources professionals just like you build happy, healthy, and top-performing teams.