Talent management is a rather new thing on the organizational grid. Initially it was thought of as a means of ensuring top management positions could be easily filled with competent, well-educated people. Lately, however, it has become ardently apparent that talent is required throughout the company in order for it to stay competitive in today’s increasingly complex and globalised economy.
It’s no longer only about hiring talent but also about finding it among the employees and managing it, as it is one of the most important resources necessary for success. And as is with most important or valuable things, talent is rather scarce. Finding it, developing and retaining it are all challenges that HR professionals and team managers face together.
Key components of a good talent management program
There is no set definition for what talent management is or should mean and this is probably why there are various approaches to it. Basically what it seeks to do is ensure that there is a good quantity of quality human resources within an organisation at any given time. The key characteristics of any good program are:
- a very good understanding of where the company is and what challenges it will have to overcome in the future;
- a sound hiring process and transparent promotion decisions;
- the capacity to identify talent gaps and solutions for filling them;
- connection between corporate objectives and individual goals;
- a coherent development plan for each role;
- clear measurement of success and impact both before and after implementation;
Best practices for talent management
Now let’s explore a few best practices for a successful talent management program:
Start at the end
With the above key points in mind, any talent management program should begin with the end. It’s best to figure out what the business objectives are and align the program accordingly. Businesses very often don’t correlate the two and the results fail to appear.
Once all stakeholders understand that organisational success hinges on having the right talent at the right time everything will go a lot smoother. Talent needs have to be addressed proactively and constantly keeping in mind what the future challenges may be.
Talent management is a lengthy process that doesn’t function well if it is used as an instant gap-filler whenever there is need for such a bridge. Professionals who are in charge of setting up this program should be present in every major objective-setting meeting and have a say in it.
Use complex profiles
Once it is clear what the talent people will have to achieve, it’s best to draw up a complex profile for the ideal candidate. Most hiring is still done on account of a list of competencies that the candidate either lists in a CV or proves to possess in various interviews or tests.
When searching for talent the list of requirements should include more:
- motivations – most employees today belong to the Millennial demographic; working for a company or for a goal they believe in is paramount for their success so discussing it right off the bat and ensuring not only that they are what the company needs but also the other way around is of the essence;
- knowledge – even if we live in a world of information, it’s important to see what a certain candidate already knows, whether it comes from formal or informal education; there are fields where simply being interested or enthusiastic is not going to cut it;
- experience – in business, talent means a lot more than a natural inclination or gift; granted these may help but skill only comes with a lot of work so this is also something to keep an eye for.
Have the right people and the right software
Since talent management is something that impacts the entire organisation there are very many employees from various departments (and quite often from far-apart locations) that are involved in the process. As a result, it’s best if people who are aware of the many aspects having to do with different values and cultures are in charge of managing talent.
But in order for things to be done in a transparent, organised manner an effective digital platform is highly recommended. It will keep better track of progress, facilitate learning and development and prove especially helpful whenever reports need to be generated.
Hiring and developing the right talent can come with a tremendous return on investment but it is important to be able to show it and though it’s great to have a great speaker on behalf of the program, some numbers never sit unwell with any board.
As is the case with everything having to do with individuals, their drives and their potential, things are complicated and complex. Today very few talent management programs are truly effective and the future will surely bring better models for addressing the issue.
In the meantime, it’s best to look to the success stories, learn from mistakes and constantly move forward.
Raluca Cristescu is a Faculty of Letters graduate with over ten years of experience in corporate training, focused mainly on soft skills for customer service and direct sales.