Finding and keeping the most talented individuals in your company is an essential role that HR needs to consider in strategic planning. How do you find talented employees and keep them motivated and wanting to stay though? Let’s learn about talent management.

Talent management and what it is

What Is Talent Management?

Talent management is the process of finding and hiring talented employees, keeping these employees happy within your organization, helping the employees develop and perform, and succession planning.

Succession planning refers to evaluating and discovering those who have the potential to develop within your company into talented employees and as future leaders or managers.

Talent Management is a process that involves not just talented individuals but the company culture and goals, how the person integrates with other employees, and how they perform.

This is a process that is ongoing for a company and, when done correctly, it can provide great benefits as we will discuss below.

The Talent Management Processes & Model

There is a process and framework that you can use so that you have a clear strategy from an HR and management point of view, to develop the talent within your organization.

Talent Management stages, processes and framework

There are 5 key stages in talent management and these are:

  • Identifying – this involves working out what talent you need to fill skills gaps
  • Hiring – Managing to find the right people with the right talent and to fit into your company culture
  • Transitioning – Onboarding and helping the new employees adapt
  • Retaining – Ensuring that the employee stays and develops within your company
  • Succession – planning for helping talented staff who are already in the company to progress in the right way

This process, it should be noted, is an ongoing process and every stage needs evaluating often.

There is also no real starting point in the diagram above because you might, for example, want to start with succession planning i.e. identifying the potential talent that already exists in your company before hiring from outside.

Before looking at each of these stages individually in more detail, it is worth first considering and understanding the Talent Management Integration.

Talent Management Framework

Talent Management Framework

Talent Management is much more than simply hiring or promoting an individual to fill a skills gap in your company.

It is also about:

  • Company culture and goals – making sure that the talented individual understands, fits in with, and is able to work with the company culture and to the company’s goals.
  • Skills gaps – making sure that the right skills gaps are correctly identified, both in terms of present needs and future needs (based on the goals).
  • Other employees – finding the right person also means ensuring that you choose someone in terms of team integration and the ability to work well with other employees.
  • Talented individual – the talented individual needs also to be someone who will have the right motivation, be willing to adapt and learn further, and be open to leading others.

As you can see, talent management is almost like trying to balance lots of plates at the same time, in that there are many things to consider to really get the right person with the right skills and character.

Stage 1 – Identifying Talent Needs & Planning

There are two main sub-steps and these are to:

  • First identify any skills gaps that exist in your company, which need filling.
  • Also, identify positions for which you could benefit from talented leaders (allowing you to potentially develop into new product areas and services). So, in adddition to what skills you need to fill now, what skills do you also need to meet the goals of the company (i.e., 5 year goal).

Stage 2 – Finding and Hiring Talent People

Not all talented employees you need will be brought in because (as we will discuss in stage 5 regards succession planning) some employees can be developed in-house.

However, you will also likely need to headhunt skilled people from outside your company and this is a specialist area in its own right, hence why the industry of recruitment is so profitable for some companies who specialize in it.

The usual routes such as hiring a recruiter, using job sites, networking at trade events, and head-hunting others can all be explored, in your recruitment drive.

I will not go into hiring practices here any further, but this post on hiring the right people is worth a read.

Stage 3 – Onboarding & Transitioning

Staff induction

With all-new employees taken on (and especially so if you are paying a lot of money to bring in highly talented and skilled individuals), onboarding is essential.

In fact, no matter what the skills level of the person you are hiring, the first 90 days are essential for keeping that employee.

Hiring new employees and training them can be a significant cost to you as a company and, as we discuss on our onboarding page, successfully keeping new hires depends largely on how you integrate them in these first ninety days.

In a good talent management process and framework, you will need, in these first 90 days, to ensure that any new employee:

  • Understands the company culture
  • Has been introduced to the key people they need to meet
  • If possible, is provided with a mentor whom they can refer to in the first 90 days to help them, if they need any advice or help with anything at all.
  • Receives clear guidance on their role and expectations and any hands-on training they need to get started

Stage 4 – Developing & Retaining Talent

It can be easy for some companies to hire talented people and then to think that they can leave the person hired to get on with the job, given that they are the expert right?

Well, not really, as it is essential also to help the talented employees you have hired or promoted to:

  • further develop their skills to an even higher level (helping you as a company but also showing the employee that you are willing to invest time and money in their development too)
  • use these skills also to train and help others

And, as a company, you will need to ensure that you:

  • have a clear career path that they can follow through the company
  • consider having a rewards and incentive program
  • begin to include them in the decision-making process in some way

Offering continuous opportunities for growth and development, and a clear career path to progress through the company can be essential in keeping these talented individuals.

Stage 5 – Succession Planning

With succession planning, we are looking at developing employees we already have into highly skilled and talented employees, as opposed to necessarily having to hire them pre-skilled.

In order to develop existing employees to the level involved with talent management we need to have in place:

  • A system for identifying talented staff
  • Providing training and development for these staff
  • Evaluating these staff
  • Guiding these staff into key positions and keeping them

Why Is Talent Management Important?

Whether it is bringing in staff who are highly skilled and talented or having a great system in place to nurture and develop talent in-house, talent management is essential.

Now I know that we are talking about business rather than sport (although sport is huge business) – but let me give you a sporting example to explain the benefits.

Many football (soccer) clubs have a great record of bringing through young footballers through their academy set-up. AFC Ajax, for example, is renowned worldwide for its talent management setup and is a particularly good example.

Indeed, talent management in football and in many other sports is something that has been taken very seriously for many years (here’s another article from the Johan Cruyff Institute).

Many sporting clubs pump money into identifying talent, nurturing the talent, training and developing the talent, and guiding them through the whole process.

The benefit and advantage? In the end, they make and save huge sums of money by having highly talented players at their club, or alternatively, very talented players whom they sell at a great profit (normally for millions more than what it cost to develop the player).

Whatever business you are in, having a strong talent management system in place can provide you with a competitive advantage.

Dr Valeria Lo Iacono