What Is Talent Management: 7 Steps & 8 Best Practices For Your Own Process
Ever wondered what separates successful companies from the not-so-successful ones?
Here's a clue: it's not always about groundbreaking products or market monopoly. More often than not, it's about the people. Those minds that innovate, create, and drive success. Yet, harnessing the best from these minds? That's a craft in itself, and it has the name of talent management.
Talent management isn't just about recruitment or fancy training programs. It's a holistic approach, tailored to ensure each individual thrives and grows, bringing collective success to the table.
This guide will:
- Define what is talent management and what are the core pillars of talent management.
- Walk you through 7 steps for setting up a talent management strategy in your organization (and a few examples).
- Share 8 battle-tested best practices to perfect your talent management process.
👨💼 What is talent management in HR?
Talent management in HR refers to the comprehensive set of processes and strategies designed to attract, develop, retain, and optimize an organization's workforce to meet its current and future business objectives.
It's essentially a holistic approach to managing an organization's most valuable asset: its people.
The primary goal behind having a talent management process is to build a highly-skilled and engaged workforce that works efficiently and effectively to achieve business goals.
What is strategic talent management?
Strategic talent management is the proactive process of aligning an organization's talent capabilities with its long-term business goals, ensuring that it has the right people in place for future success.
This approach goes beyond immediate hiring needs, focusing on developing, retaining, and optimizing talent to achieve broader organizational objectives.
🔍 What are the 7 key steps in talent management?
The talent management process is a set of structured and interconnected activities or steps that an organization takes to operationalize its talent management strategy. It's the "how-to" or the roadmap to achieving the objectives set by the strategy.
Talent acquisition refers to sourcing and hiring the right candidates.
Beyond just filling vacancies, successful talent acquisition ensures new joiners align with the company's culture, mission, and future goals.
Having the right talent can lead to increased productivity, better workplace morale, and can directly influence a company's growth trajectory.
🧲 Discover 8 recruitment strategies with real examples from refferals, chatbots, and everything in-between.
The employee onboarding process ensures that new hires properly integrate into your organization.
But onboarding is more than introducing new hires to the company's systems and processes. It is also about embedding them into the company's culture and values.
A smooth onboarding process can help new employees feel welcomed, valued, and ready to contribute faster, minimizing the time it takes for them to become productive.
If your onboarding process does not meet your new hire's expectations you might risk loosing them within the first months of their employment.
🚀 Discover 29 proven methods to improve employee onboarding experiences.
🤖 For extra inspiration, check out how Google runs a well-structured (and fun) onboarding. And how Zappos' unortodox approach to onboarding ensures 100% cultural fit.
Performance management, not to be confused with performance appraisals, is the ongoing process of setting clear expectations, regularly assessing employee progress, and providing constructive feedback.
👀 Check out our in-depth analysis of performance management vs performance appraisal.
Effective performance management can improve individual productivity, foster personal growth, ensure alignment with organizational goals and enhance organizational performance. When done right, it also helps in identifying and addressing potential performance issues before they escalate.
🖇️ Discover 6 expert-backed ways for integrating performance management and talent management.
Learning and development (L&D)
L&D focuses on the continuous growth and upskilling of employees.
As the business landscape is ever-evolving. L&D ensures that employees keep pace with industry changes, new technologies, and shifts in job roles.
By investing in L&D, companies not only upskill their employees but also demonstrate a commitment to their growth. Access to growth opportunities enhances employee job performance and satisfaction and loyalty.
🎓 Learn how to create a learning and development strategy that drives growth and performance.
Succession planning refers to preparing for future leadership and critical roles.
Every organization needs to prepare for the future, especially concerning key leadership and critical roles. Succession planning ensures there's a backup ready: trained, developed, and prepared to step up when required.
Being prepared is vital for business continuity and to reassure stakeholders that the organization is forward-looking and resilient.
Many companies we regularly talk to use the 9 box grid to identify leadership potential in their companies.
⏭️ Learn how to use 9-box succession planning to turn top talent into future leaders.
Employee retention refers to the efforts for keeping top talent engaged and reducing turnover.
While hiring the right talent is essential, is equally crucial to retain talent.
Retention strategies aim to keep top performers engaged, motivated, and committed to the organization.
High employee turnover can be costly both in terms of financial expenses (like hiring costs) and intangible factors (like loss of organizational knowledge or decreased morale among remaining staff).
Effective retention strategies consider factors like competitive compensation, positive work environment, and opportunities for growth. Allof these elements contribute to extending the employee journey within the organization.
🏆 We gathered 25 best practices for employee retention. Browse them for some extra inspiration.
Employee offboarding refers to the process of gracefully transitioning employees out of the organization.
The time when employees leave an organization is as crucial as when they join.
Proper offboarding ensures that transitions are smooth, knowledge is transferred, and departing employees leave on good terms.
Offboarding is important not just for the immediate operational needs but also for the company's reputation.
A graceful offboarding process reflects well on an organization's employer branding, and departing employees can become brand ambassadors if their exit is handled professionally. Plus, it also leaves the door open in case the employees would ever return to work for your company.
Each of these key components is a piece of the talent management puzzle, and when they function harmoniously, they can significantly elevate an organization's performance, reputation, and long-term success.
📝 What is the HR talent management model?
A talent management model is a structured framework or approach that organizations use to oversee and optimize the entire employee lifecycle.
This model provides a holistic view of how different talent management components (such as attracting talent, development, and retaining talent) fit together.
Its aim is to ensure that the organization has the right people in the right roles at the right time to achieve its objectives.
AIHR links the phases of talent management to a customer's life cycle, which has five stages: acquisition, activation, revenue, referral, and retention.
1. Acquisition: As a business creates strategies and takes multiple steps to acquire customers, an organization must create a strong employer brand to attract top talent. People aspire to work for companies that have a positive image.
2. Activation: In the HR world, you activate employees by using systematic hiring and onboarding processes and focusing on the candidate experience.
As a recruiter, ask yourself these questions before you start the hiring process:
- How can I select the right people from existing talent pools?
- How to create a stellar candidate experience?
- What type of candidates can I filter out quickly?
The goal should be to hire the best people and treat the rejected candidates respectfully.
3. Revenue: As profits or revenue is the lifeline of any business, getting the best out of your employees is the core of the talent management process.
4. Referral: As word of mouth is the most trusted way to acquire more customers, employee referrals enable organizations to hire more quickly. Employees usually refer candidates they know personally or have worked with.
5. Retention: Every business aspires to have customers who buy from them repeatedly, as acquiring a new customer is expensive. Similarly, in HR, retention is about doing everything to keep your best performers and help to build a competitive advantage.
👀 Talent management examples
Suppose mid-level managers at your organization struggle to retain or effectively lead employees. Month after month, the talent team is seeing an increase in the attrition rate.
After conducting a training needs assessment, the team discovers that recently promoted managers don't have the skills to lead and engage remote teams.
The L&D team then creates development plans for those managers. Over the next few months, the attrition rate shows a downward trend.
The above example is an illustration of talent management.
Identifying critical business roles and top performers and rewarding them to increase retention is another illustration of effectively managing talent.
Rapid talent allocation or hiring internally for related roles is another talent management example.
Suppose a media entity of a conglomerate is closing down due to slow growth. Instead of firing everyone, they can redeploy people to other entities of the parent organization.
For example, people who had job responsibilities as journalists can be moved to marketing as marketing teams can benefit from a journalist's writing and researching skills.
💡8 Best practices for effective talent management
1. Gauge roadblocks. It's common for HR teams to face issues with budget approval for talent management initiatives. Plan how you can deal with it. The executive leadership will invest in talent management only if they see how it aligns with business goals.
2. Don't implement talent management plans just for the sake of it. We won't know how effective they are if we don't have clear goals.
3. Make a great first impression and have a stellar onboarding. Emphasize work-life balance and the steps the organization takes for employee well-being.
4. Align employees with the company's mission, so they feel motivated to come to work and find their work meaningful.
5. Treat your employees well and keep them engaged. Engagement is not only good for employee job satisfaction but also for your business's outcomes. Consider creating an employee engagement action plan.
6. Identify top talent and reward them for retaining their talents. Speak to your A players about what characteristics made them excel and try to implement them across the organization.
7. Identify the traits of top employees and use them during the hiring process.
8. Reduce any leadership change disruption by having successors ready to take on key responsibilities.
💻 If you're ready to invest into a talent management system, check out our analysis of the best talent management systems on the market.
💸 The business case for talent management: 6 Benefits
You can hire and retain the best talents by having systematic talent management strategies and processes that attract top performers and keep them motivated toward organizational goals.
If your company doesn't have effective talent management models and systems, now is the time to start planning one.
Here are some essential benefits of effective talent management:
- Helps in recruitment: A talent management process can help you identify any gaps in the skills of your workforce. You might end up creating new roles in the company and will know what skills to prioritize when recruiting new candidates.
- Increases employee engagement: It leads to a motivated workforce, leading to increased productivity and improved performance.
- Helps to create a feedback culture: Standard processes can help assess employees' existing skills and experience. HR and managers can use this information to assign projects based on employees' strengths and share constructive feedback. This will help your employees constantly grow their skills and productivity.
- Enables the creation of effective L&D plans: A documented process can help you to create effective learning and development plans and improve employees' skills and performance.
- Helps in performance management: A strategy can help set clear objectives and expectations for employees. Setting required performance standards also give direction during appraisals and contribute to the overall success of your organization.
- Helps in succession planning: Planning for talent allows organizations to identify employees that show proactiveness and ability to take senior roles. This knowledge can help HR create a sustainable talent pipeline to account for retirements, frequent job hoppings, and promotions.
➡️ Enable your talents with Zavvy
Talent management isn't just about recruiting and hiring the best talent. Your company culture and reputation ride on the talent team's ability to ensure that the most vital asset, your people, are appreciated and feel validated. You can lose them to a competitor if you don't keep them engaged.
Imagine creating a positive employee experience making new hires excited and engaged from day one and productive as soon as possible. This is our priority at Zavvy.
Plus, Zavvy's AI-based talent growth tool will allow you to:
- Create meaningful career frameworks using unbiased data to move people from A to B.
- Maintain a continuous development cycle within your team and keep track of goals.
- Run best-in-class performance reviews and get more insights into how your employees perform than ever before.
- Access 1,000s courses from dozens of platforms to bridge the gap between talent development targets and concrete resources.
All under one single subscription.
Get in touch for a free 30 minutes demo. Our experts will show you how you can create a cycle of continuous development with Zavvy.
What is talent management in simple terms?
Talent management refers to the strategies and practices an organization uses to recruit, develop, retain, and plan for the future roles of its employees, ensuring the right people are in the right roles at the right time.
What are the 4 types of talent management?
- Recruitment: The process of attracting and selecting potential candidates for job vacancies.
- Talent development: Enhancing the skills, knowledge, and capabilities of employees through training and mentorship.
- Retention: Strategies and practices aimed at keeping top talent engaged and committed to the organization.
- Succession Planning: Identifying and preparing potential leaders or key role holders to ensure the continuity of leadership and critical positions.
What's the difference between talent management and talent acquisition?
Talent acquisition is the process of attracting, identifying, and hiring the right person for the job. In contrast, talent management is the system that covers multiple aspects of the employee lifecycle like onboarding, learning & development, succession planning, and even talent acquisition.
What is the role of talent management?
Effective talent management involves setting up a system for hiring, training, and developing employees. It includes having a suitable career path for every employee — whether they want to stay at the company or not — and providing training and development opportunities as they move along this path.
What are the different talent management approaches?
Talent management approaches are strategies or methodologies that organizations employ to attract, develop, retain, and deploy their workforce effectively. These approaches are designed to ensure that an organization has the right people with the right skills in the right roles at the right time. Here are some of the common talent management approaches:
The competency-based talent management approach focuses on identifying key competencies (knowledge, skills, behaviors) required for success in various roles. Once identified, these competencies guide recruitment, development, and performance assessment.
The integrated talent management approach is based on the idea that all elements of talent management, from hiring to succession planning, are interconnected. The idea is that a unified approach offers a cohesive talent strategy rather than siloed HR functions.
The high-potential (HiPo) employee development approach focuses on identifying and nurturing employees who display potential to assume leadership or critical roles in the future.
The performance-driven talent management approach focuses primarily on employee performance. HR tools, such as performance appraisals, feedback systems, and reward mechanisms, are centered on enhancing and measuring employee performance.
The talent pipeline development strategy is about creating a continuous source of talent ready to step into roles as they become available, ensuring minimal disruption to business operations.
Data-driven approach to talent management leverages analytics and data to make informed talent management decisions. For example, you can use predictive analytics to identify potential employee turnover.
The inclusive talent management approach emphasizes creating a diverse and inclusive workforce. It recognizes the value of varied perspectives and experiences and seeks to create an environment where all employees can thrive.
The agile talent management approach is inspired from the world of software development. This approach emphasizes flexibility and adaptability. It's about quickly responding to changing business needs and ensuring that talent processes and strategies can evolve accordingly.
Each approach has its own merits, and the best strategy often combines elements from multiple approaches tailored to an organization's unique needs, culture, and goals.