What Is A Talent Management Strategy? Talent Management Strategy In A Nutshell

Understanding talent management strategies

To better understand a talent management strategy, it may be helpful to first define talent management

Talent management describes a suite of human resource processes that attract, recruit, develop, engage, and retain high-performing employees. Since business performance and profitability are associated with productive and engaged individuals, good talent management is a critical component of organizational longevity.

With all of that said, a talent management strategy is simply a broad plan of action to optimize the performance of employees. The plan may include action steps to:

  • Train those who lack skills in certain areas.
  • Engage employees and measure engagement using questionnaires such as the Utrecht Work Engagement Scale (UWES) or GALLUP scale
  • Bring employees up to an adequate standard more quickly. This is known as optimizing the time to productivity.
  • Recognize and reward high performers.
  • Identify skill or resource gaps early in the strategy, and
  • Standardize and schedule regular performance reviews to check in with employees and determine whether they need additional support.

Each plan works under the basic assumption that well-resourced employees tend to perform better in their roles. 

Talent management strategy principles

Numerous talent strategy frameworks have been developed over the years. Below are a few principles which should be common to each:

  • Detailed job descriptions – many businesses make the mistake of using very general job descriptions during the recruitment process. Without a detailed job description, the candidate and indeed the organization itself are confused about what is required. This leads to a raft of irrelevant applications which cost time and money to sort through. At the very least, a description should include job title, location, duties, required skills, tools and equipment used, and salary.
  • Employee-organization fit – where possible, it is important to ascertain whether the candidate has the same values as the organization. Total overlap is uncommon, but an employee who cannot identify with company culture will likely be unhappy and unproductive – no matter how talented they are. 
  • Mentoring – effective talent management strategies must also contain a mentoring component. Constructive feedback helps employees realize their full potential and prepares them for inevitable setbacks. 
  • Recognition – to motivate, engage, and manage talent, they should be duly rewarded and recognized. This goes beyond financial rewards, with many organizations now rewarding employees in a way that is meaningful and relevant to them as individuals.
  • Continuous improvement – this helps the employee ensure their skills are updated, upgraded, or upscaled as necessary. More broadly speaking, talent management strategies with continuous improvement help the organization remain agile and responsive to changing trends and market conditions.

The benefits of a robust talent management strategy

In a three-year study conducted by McKinsey & Company, it was discovered that talent management was effective to very effective at attracting and retaining talent and improving performance.

Here is how this occurs within an organization:

  1. Improved performance – three of the key practices for effective talent management also happen to support superior organizational performance. These include the rapid deployment of talent to strategic priorities, positive employee experience, and a human resource team that understands the strategy and broader organizational priorities.
  2. Improved competitiveness – organizations with the ability to identify, recruit, and develop talented individuals are more robust. What’s more, they are better able to navigate change and manage risk.
  3. Innovation – while opportunities for innovation always exist, only the most talented employees will be able to develop innovative products that are also commercially viable.
  4. Productive teams – talent management strategies also facilitate the development of productive teams. While every organisation must employee talented individuals, teams of talented individuals ultimately drive the company forward. Here, the whole is very much greater than the sum of the individual parts.
  5. Retention rate – when employees feel recognized and celebrated for their specific talents, they feel valued and tend not to seek opportunities elsewhere. This improves the company retention rate and since the hiring of new employees is expensive, it also improves the bottom line.

Connected HR Models

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs In A Nutshell

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs was developed by American psychologist Abraham Maslow. His hierarchy, often depicted in the shape of a pyramid, helped explain his research on basic human needs and desires. In marketing, the hierarchy (and its basis in psychology) can be used to market to specific groups of people based on their similarly specific needs, desires, and resultant actions.

Eisenhower Matrix

The Eisenhower Matrix is a tool that helps businesses prioritize tasks based on their urgency and importance, named after Dwight D. Eisenhower, President of the United States from 1953 to 1961, the matrix helps businesses and individuals differentiate between the urgent and important to prevent urgent things (seemingly useful in the short-term) cannibalize important things (critical for long-term success).

Moonshot Thinking

Moonshot thinking is an approach to innovation, and it can be applied to business or any other discipline where you target at least 10X goals. That shifts the mindset, and it empowers a team of people to look for unconventional solutions, thus starting from first principles, by leveraging on fast-paced experimentation.

Lightning Decision Jam

The theory was developed by psychologist Edwin Locke who also has a background in motivation and leadership research. Locke’s goal-setting theory of motivation provides a framework for setting effective and motivating goals. Locke was able to demonstrate that goal setting was linked to performance.

Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory

Herzberg’s two-factor theory argues that certain workplace factors cause job satisfaction while others cause job dissatisfaction. The theory was developed by American psychologist and business management analyst Frederick Herzberg. Until his death in 2000, Herzberg was widely regarded as a pioneering thinker in motivational theory.

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