5 Main Elements of Talent Management

Building strong staff is critical to the success of every business. You’ll need a complete workforce plan to maintain happy and committed staff who will keep your business running smoothly. The Human Resources (HR) plan must focus on five primary areas:

Talent Acquisition

Recruiting begins with planning. That often begins the moment you have a job opening, but it’s better if you can think ahead. After all, at some point you will have people leave, whether due to medical reasons, dissatisfaction, a better career move, or retirement. Lay the groundwork now to help employees transition as smoothly as possible.

To attract the best and brightest talent, be ready to share examples of how you are committed to:

Establish an onboarding process for new hires, just as you would for a new client. Their first day should be an introduction to the company overall—its goals, successes, and culture—as well as practical matters such as a discussion of benefits and related participation forms and introducing them to their new team and workspace. While the next week will no doubt involve introductions and training related to specific job tasks, clients, and responsibilities, be sure to set specific goals for the first day, week, month, and beyond so that each employee knows how to measure success. Match them to a team member who can guide them early on.

Talent Retention

Recruiting people is expensive, which is why you need thoughtful retention strategies to keep staff in place once you hire them. It’s much more than just training the new person to do the immediate tasks at hand that make up their job. It’s about keeping them fulfilled in their work and building a corporate culture that they are proud to be a part of.

Here are the main things you can do to keep your employees happy:

Measure your retention rates at least annually, documenting the drivers of change from year to year. Consider instituting an anonymous employee survey annually and offer an ongoing suggestion box to assess their attitudes about your company. Be ready to make policy or program changes that speak to widespread issues. Announcing new activities, programs, and benefits targeting the bullets above will show your employees you listen and care.

Performance Management

To have successful employees, you have to provide clear communication of what success looks like. That means measurable goals and roles must be set, expectations communicated, and progress reviewed.

Companies who follow an advanced version of performance management, tie overall company goals to team and individual goals, and closely monitor each monthly or quarterly. HR can help ensure that talent management strategies support the company’s overall strategic planning, business goals, and culture.

At a minimum, employees need a formal annual written review that shares how the employee is doing, tracks their training and growth, and discusses goals for the coming year. Is the employee performing below par, at expectations, or above expectations? Provide examples of what it would take for them to be ranked higher. It’s important that this be a two-way discussion, so that the employee feels that their opinions and requests are heard and actions taken in whatever way is appropriate.

In instances where there is a problem with an employee, whether that be in attendance, attitude, compliance, or competence, the manager needs to have an in-person meeting with the employee as soon as the incident occurs to point out the issue and state what is expected. Be sure to document and date this discussion on Day 1. Check in with supervisors to see that the problem has been corrected, usually in a week or two, but may be longer depending on the situation. If the problem persists, a second face-to-face meeting needs to occur in the presence of another manager (supervisor or HR representative) to put the person on notice. If a third meeting is needed, it usually means firing.

Be sure to thoroughly document the context of each discussion, who was in attendance, and date it. If there is concern that you may be headed to a firing, consider when to bring HR, Legal, and perhaps Security into the loop.

While not all employee issues are fixable, striving to hire well, set clear employee expectations, keep good communications, and truly care for staff well-being will greatly reduce the likelihood of either side opting for a parting of the ways.

Career Development

Not every employee wants to be promoted to higher level jobs or have a shift in roles, but many do. It’s important for managers to know the professional goals of each member of their team to keep them engaged and fulfilled–or risk losing them.

Perhaps an analyst has no designs on leading a team, whereas a clerical person may want to work their way up to be a manager of people instead of files. Encourage supervisors and HR to work with employees to plan a pathway for them to progress. Will they need extra training, a college degree that is lacking, or a shift in project assignments or responsibility?

Whether or not an employee is looking to promote up, continued training is a highly valued perk and an excellent retention strategy. That might mean offering in-house seminars on soft skills such as conflict management or business writing, cross-training opportunities in various departments, computer software classes, or paying for employee tuition for college courses relevant to the job.

Understanding what steps need to be achieved is sometimes all the employee needs to go after their goals. As employees show they are capable of more, give them more, including moving them a step closer to their ideal job.

Offboarding and Succession Planning

Employee exit management, or offboarding, is the separation process between you and someone leaving your employ. The order of steps involved vary, depending on whether the employee is giving advance notice and allowed to stay the traditional two weeks or more or whether they are asked to leave immediately because of employee malfeasance or across-the-board security protocol.

Your Offboarding Checklist:

In the event of a firing, death, or other sudden departure, most of these same steps will have to be done on a moment’s notice. Keeping this exit checklist and all departmental contact information handy will enable you to transition swiftly, if need be.

Together, these talent management steps form an integrated workforce plan that can greatly increase your retention rates, saving your company huge amounts of time and money.