Talent Management is a HOT topic. It is really about managing your talent proactively, aligning talent to organizational values and opportunities, and succession planning to keep your top talent happy at YOUR Company. According to Wikipedia (the best definition source) talent management “refers to the skills of attracting highly skilled worked, of integrating new workers, and developing and retaining current workers to meet current and future business objectives.” As the article calls out, “companies engaging in a talent management strategy shift the responsibility of employees from the HR department to all managers throughout the organization.” HR is a lead player in working with a company’s senior leadership team to align on a talent management strategy but ALL managers must then take accountability for developing their direct reports. Thus, training & organizational education is also a key part of a talent management strategy. Talent management also goes hand in hand with recruiting so you can acquire the right talent to meet your business needs once you create a language to discuss skill gaps or needs. Talent management is increasingly a point of differentiation as happier employees are more productive and it helps you keep your high performers/high potentials happy and not seeking (or being open) to other opportunities.
The economy is picking up and the market for strong talent is getting hotter than ever. Many companies are failing to bench mark their talent, create guidelines for talent management development, and build succession plans for top performers. This puts your talent at risk when other’s come calling and puts you in reactive mode dealing with counter offers or potentially being too late in the game to keep your high performers.
Here is Talent Management 101
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Step 1: Determine bench marks for talent. What are the key pillars involved in each role & at which level to you want each manager (based on title) to be an expert? This is an exercise in itself that takes time.
Step 2: Make a companywide plan on succession planning & create guidelines for promotions, bonus plans, talent reviews, and learning & development.
Step 3: Internal Talent Review. Work with all of the senior managers to bench mark your employees (aka your talent) & identify the top performers/high potential candidates. Ensure that all managers are aligned. There are many tools/processes/templates out there to help you with this process. This should be an executive/senior manager discussion so you can really compare talent from multiple teams and have a consistent evaluation among all employees. Start with your most senior managers and work your way through each level. HR should manage these conversations.
Step 4: Coach your managers on how to have conversations with all employees – especially those high potential individuals and take them through template succession plans to determine their 1-3 year plans. Work to have a consistent strategy on getting these candidates additional exposure & opportunities based on their long term talent to truly grow them into your company’s future leaders. Templates, training & education is very important at this step as some managers may be leading high potential candidates but they themselves might be more a “steady Eddie” – also people important to keep happy & developed.
Step 5: When new business is secured or a promotion is justified, ensure that you look to those ready & willing candidates who have the right skills & the right aptitude to move into the role. Base your promotions on fit & talent versus things like tenure.
Step 6: Visit your talent review annually to revisit how you are doing on your strategy & re-evaluate your team’s growth over the past year.
Step 7: repeat repeat repeat. Remember that training & development of your managers & support from a strong HR Talent Manager/Lead is very key to lead all of the change management necessary to properly build & execute a strong talent management strategy. This is different way of thinking and thus this strategy will take time and needs alignment between HR and Sr leaders in developing the organizational plan and managing this change for your organization.
There are many assessments/processes out there to support your talent management strategy. Remember to use tools & research research research! Have a plan & then work that plan.
For those of you with existing talent management strategies, what is working? What have you learned? What would you do differently? For those just starting, how are you doing in your planning?
Below is just one visual example of an important talent management strategy as it should include everything from Acquiring Talent, to Developing, Aligning, & Assessing Talent.
Wikipedia definition of Talent Management: http://bit.ly/oDuhlt
Talent Management Process Example <via Taleo>: http://bit.ly/q3q3hE