• 8 min read

Talent Management Strategy: A Quick Guide for HR

Andrew Moran
Andrew Moran

Business and Finance Expert

Reviewed by Chris Leitch

Illustration of a man and a woman reviewing candidate profiles

Is talent management just another human resources gimmick? On the surface, it might sound like a buzz term that has been designed with the intention of justifying somebody’s position. However, once you dive deeper into this term, you may realise a couple of things: your small business might have missed out on global talent and your private enterprise failed to build a top-notch workforce.

Indeed, talent management is the best practice to focus on in your overall business strategy since your staff are the lifeblood of your entity. Unless you have fully automated your company, you will always have to consider HR – and that’s not a bad thing!

We’ve compiled a breakdown of everything you want to know about a talent management strategy and the various ways you can incorporate it into your business model.

What is a talent management strategy?

Talent management is a multifaceted process that involves multiple parties, from hiring candidates to managing employees at the office (or virtually). Talent management is essentially the entire human resources ecosystem, with the intention of attracting, developing, engaging and retaining employees who are tremendous assets to the company.

Within the confines of this realm, businesses will need to employ a talent management strategy that consists of optimising and maximising employee performance. Every organisation will have its own mechanisms in place to achieve this objective, but the general concept consists of several broad and elementary steps:

  • Identify employees’ shortcomings in certain areas.
  • Engage with workers and develop their skills within the firm.
  • Routinely train personnel to enhance business-related abilities.
  • Retain employees who do their job well and fit nicely in the workplace.
  • Update staff members quickly and efficiently to concentrate on productivity.

By executing an effective talent management strategy, you can accomplish multiple things at once: autonomy, feedback, HR support, better organisational outcomes, and motivation. Also, at a time when employees feel more burned out than ever before, your firm successfully mitigates the emotional, mental and physical demands of the job.

It takes approximately three to five years to fully install a talent management strategy. This might seem like a long time, particularly when you’re a small business, but it’s a worthwhile investment of your time and resources, since it can lead to an incredible return on your investment.

Why you need a talent management strategy

Every small business or HR manager will have a wide variety of reasons to embark upon this corporate endeavour. Before you craft a talent management strategy, it is important to identify some of the reasons why you want to utilise one. Every firm has its unique needs, but these are some of the more common justifications: 

  • Prioritising your strategies so that you meet your companywide goals.
  • Bridging your talent management efforts to overall strategic priorities.
  • Establishing a talent management strategy that can lead to broader improvements throughout every facet of the business, such as key performance indicators, software systems, training and workflows.

Companies that have embraced a talent management strategy have facilitated a shift to a high-performance corporate culture. According to the Harvard Business Review, BlackRock, a global investment management corporation, has increased performance standards and improved its approach to finding and elevating talent with a lot of potential. Donnell Green, BlackRock’s global head of talent management, explained in an interview that the entire workforce is expected to live by the motto ‘We are one BlackRock’, and anyone who undermines their colleagues ‘soon find out that there is no place for them at the firm.’

While you’re always looking out for the organisation’s best interests, as well as productivity and profit levels, it’s also important to consider the employee’s perspective, suggests McKinsey & Company. The management consulting firm writes that one of the main drivers of effective talent management ‘relates to employee experience – specifically, the HR function’s role in ensuring a positive experience across the employee life cycle’.

In a recent survey, the company found that ‘only 37% of respondents say that their organisations’ HR functions facilitate a positive employee experience. But those who do are 1.3 times more likely than other respondents to report organisational outperformance and 2.7 times more likely to report effective talent management, though our experience suggests that the HR function’s role is just one of the critical factors that support great employee experience.’

You don’t want employees to quit and then rage on social media about how your firm fails to manage.


How to develop a talent management strategy

Now, this is where the fun begins. It’s time to put theory into practice. You’re ready to craft a talent management strategy for your small business or HR department. Before you dive head-first into this plan, it’s first critical to identify the core tenets of this process:

  • Planning: Identify the outcomes by concentrating on the human capital requirement.
  • Attracting: Do you plan to hire employees internally or externally?
  • Choosing: Install a selection system, from written tests to group discussions, to determine if applicants are the right match for the job.
  • Developing: Helping your talent succeed with regular training and engagement.
  • Retaining: Incorporating incentives to keep the best talent in your firm.
  • Transitioning: Implement a transitional system that allows individual employees to grow and you have replacements ready to go.

The next step is to devise the best talent management strategy for your firm at each step before and during employment. Here are five tips for small businesses and HR professionals:

1. Focus on job descriptions

Job descriptions can make or break a company’s hiring campaign. They can either appeal to top talent, or they might attract less-than-stellar workers. The objective of a job description is to align employers with the right employees who share your goals, vision and mission. This is why your job description should go beyond ‘Help Wanted’.

Here is what you should consider in your advertisement:

  • Include the basics (job title, overall duties, needed skills, and salary and benefits).
  • Communicate the big picture of your firm’s direction and let potential employees know how they fit into your plans.
  • Establish clear expectations from the beginning so applicants know what they’re getting involved in.
  • List the working relationships as well as regular tools and equipment to be used.

2. Figure out if the candidate fits into your firm

During the interview process, it’s crucial to determine if the applicant is the right fit in your organisation’s culture. A reasonable screening process would be sufficient enough to make this prognostication, which would consist of tone of voice, personal values, language and passions. A talent management strategist can always come up with a detailed plan in this area, particularly for startups that succeed based on a corporate culture.

3. Encourage everyone to be a coach

Does the manager only need to be the one who is a coach or a mentor? Not quite. While not everyone should be cavalier about counselling or extending feedback to new hires, it would still be prudent for a firm to foster an office landscape of collaboration, teamwork, engagement, trust, camaraderie and mentoring. Indeed, someone who had just been given a job two weeks ago probably would not be ideal to hand out advice, but somebody who has been employed at your company for three years would be good.

4. Offer continued support, training and development

A problem that too many companies make is that they take the set-it-and-forget-it approach to HR management. Whether it’s because of a paucity of personnel or a focus on nothing but productivity, a lot of businesses don’t offer support, training and development after each candidate has been hired. This needs to change because enterprises should want to retain workers, especially the new generation that is prepared to hop to another job at a moment’s notice.

A core function of a wide talent management strategy is to provide continued support, training and development through the tenure of each employee. This way, you can accomplish a few things: 

  • Retain the best and most dedicated employees.
  • Build a positive reputation about how you treat employees.
  • Tap into potential and help workers become instrumental to your firm.
  • Ensure you have staff that adhere to your company’s fundamentals.

5. Incentivise staff beyond a bonus

Who doesn’t love a bonus? While a bonus is always a terrific thing for any employee, your organisation can offer other incentives that can lead to long-term gains rather than short-term infusions.

Giving back to your employees with rewards and recognition can pay dividends because these efforts make your workers feel appreciated, important and recognised. These could consist of distinctive honours, a paid day off, tiny trinkets here and there, or perhaps a promotion. It all depends on what your company does, what work is done and how much you can afford.

By the end of it all, you might realise that you can carve an authentic career path for your full-time employees. Since you’re both on the same page, your business can be honest with every person who joins the team. While career advancement is not a guarantee, particularly in today’s new economy, you should create an atmosphere that pushes employees to climb the ladder.

By now, you have reached the conclusion that you need to develop a talent management programme and integrate it into your general operations. It will become as integral as accounting and legal. Of course, when you’re a smaller company and don’t possess the same amount of resources as your larger counterparts, you need to be a bit cleverer to enact your plans. With the right planning and the development of systems, even a startup of a dozen or so can ensure it is managing and growing talent.

Got a question or want to share your insights into developing a talent management strategy? Join the conversation below and let us know!