What Is Talent Management? Strategy and Planning

Business advice Workplace wellness
Estimated read time: 6 mins
Published: 13/02/2020

Thought ‘talent management’ was just another HR buzzword? Think again.

For business owners, talent teams and managers, effective talent management is key – it plays a key role in recruitment, employee onboarding and staff retention.

How would you define talent management?

Strategic talent management is about more than just managing employees. It’s about recruiting, nurturing, developing and retaining staff who will be ambassadors for your business.

‘Talent management’ refers to both current talent and potential talent. It involves anticipating the need for new employees, and then creating a strategy to fulfil these needs. Under the umbrella term ‘talent management’, there are a number of different processes designed to ‘build a high performance workplace, encourage a learning organisation, add value to their branding agenda, and contribute to diversity management.’ (CIPD talent management definition).

Why is talent management important?

Most businesses will recognise the value of talent management; but not all of them will prioritise creating a talent management strategy that’s unique to their business.

Over the last few years, it’s become clear that effective talent management can have a range of benefits for businesses; from boosting employee performance to decreasing dropouts; which can ultimately increase ROI.

Here are some suggestions to help you win the ‘war for talent’, and build an effective talent management process for your business.

How to create a talent management strategy


Review your strategic plan

Before setting out to recruit talent, it’s important to establish or review your business strategy and talent plan. The key to hiring the right employees will come from the targets and challenges you’ve set out in your business plan; so the better you can define what your business goals are, the better you will be able to define what talent is needed to help you achieve that. Make sure to also confirm what your business stands for, its personality, ethics, and lifestyle (or core values), because this will help you define not just what skills you need but who you need. At Work.Life, we have a set of core values we use to help us define who we need to hire and how they will fit in to the team.

Lots of businesses fail to recognise the significance of effective HR talent management in their overall business strategy, and vice versa. Your talent management process and strategic plan are closely linked; so it’s important to define these early on!

Identify your hiring requirements

In order to create a great talent management strategy, you need to work out who you need to hire, and what value they will add to your team. Hiring employees is a huge investment in your business, so if you’ve decided it’s time to grow, you need to define exactly who you need to recruit in your team. Then, once you’ve identified your talent recruitment needs, you can start to create the perfect job description to attract new employees.

Attract and hire talent

Given the competitive nature of the jobs market, businesses also need to consider how to attract and recruit employees in their talent management strategy. There are a range of different talent attraction and recruitment strategies; whether you enlist the help of a recruiter, talent management software like Zoho, or job advertisement websites.

To invite talent to your business, make sure that you have an attractive Employee Value Proposition, including compensation, benefits, career progression, work environment and company culture. You need to have researched the market, and be sure that your offering matches up to your competitors. Make sure that your Employee Value Proposition (EVP) is clear on your job description, and then right the way throughout the job interview process. Your job description will play an important role in attracting well-matched candidates; so don’t be vague about what you’re looking for.

It’s also important to build a strong employer brand and reputation. Why not ask staff to leave Glassdoor reviews based on their experiences? Externally, make sure to build up Google reviews, Trustpilot reviews and social media reviews like Facebook.


First week onboarding

The first week of a new hire joining your business is a defining moment in your talent management strategy. In your week one onboarding process, make sure you include all of the following; introducing them to all of the team, setting them up on all necessary technology and software, and ensuring they have a clear understanding of business processes. At Work.Life, we like to take new starters out for lunch on their first day.

First month onboarding

In their first month at your company, make sure that new employees are clear on their short-term and long-term targets. Whoever is line managing your new hire should make these clear early on. Studies have shown that a great onboarding process is the most valuable way to avoid dropouts.

First 3 month onboarding

In order to successfully manage talent, make sure you are frequently checking in with new hires. The 3 month mark is an important milestone – have they achieved initial goals set out? How will they develop moving forward?

In order to keep developing your HR talent strategy, make sure you get feedback from your new hires at these different stages. If they have any feedback on how the interview and onboarding stages could have been better, make sure these are considered in your talent management plan.


Provide training & development opportunities

The flexibility of a small business offers the opportunity for new talent to take on more responsibility, sometimes leadership roles, early in their career. In fact, more depends on an individual performance if it’s a small business – they are that whole function. This is an important part of talent development that plays a part in your overall talent management strategy.

Development and learning opportunities are key to keeping staff engaged and empowered, and strengthen your business offering. Here at Work.Life, when planning budgets, we always include a line for training & development. Plus we work with partners like YCN and Jolt to provide on-site team training.

Recognise your employees acheivements

Employee recognition should also play a key part in any talent management strategy.

Examples of talent management initiatives include personal shout-outs, individual, team, or whole-company monetary bonuses, ‘Employee of the month’, and activities for well-performing teams. These initiatives can help to boost team relations, and improve employee performance. At Work.Life, every quarter we have what we call ‘spot bonuses’ which are given out to members of the team who went the extra mile or demonstrated our core values in an outstanding way. These are also in the form of an experience or voucher that we know that individual would like (e.g. Beer tasting on the canal, boxing gloves, spa treatments).

Retention is like re-recruiting existing staff; you need to ensure they feel valued, challenged, developed and rewarded through your talent plan.

These kinds of initiatives are the difference between talent management and talent development; making sure employees are happy and engaged, and likely to stay at your company long-term.

Plan for employee departures

Some of your employees will inevitably move on, so you need to factor in succession planning when devising a talent strategy. When staff do go, carry out an exit interview for future development of your talent strategy.

HR talent management is a continuous process. As your business evolves, revisit your talent management framework and make sure it remains up-to-date.

Also don’t forget that the send-off is as important as the onboarding. You don’t want anyone to leave feeling unappreciated so make a big who-ha about it! At Work.Life, we organise a little thank you gift from the team and drinks to say our goodbyes.

Offer a great work environment

Ensuring that your employees are happy at work will be key to attracting, retaining and managing talent. Consider the employee experience in terms of location, comfort and sociability; and make sure that your office environment remains competitive.

Despite popular belief, you don’t need to introduce tennis tables, or beer on tap to have a great work environment. A well-designed space with a variety of ways to work like break out areas, private spaces, and standing desks gives people the flexibility they need to be productive.

Comfortable desk space, workplace wellness initiatives, birthday celebrations, and work perks will also help employers to manage and develop talent.

Examples of work perks:

  • Mental health sessions – At Work.Life, we offer all employees a free mental health session with Self Space
  • Team lunches – Your budget will dictate how often these take place; here at Work.Life we have a ‘Team Joy’ budget, which gives every employee a budget per month to spend on socialising with their colleagues
  • Whole-company socials – It’s great to bring the whole team together every once in a while. Some companies like to do this monthly or quarterly; for others it’s more feasible to organise bi-annually or annually, i.e. the Christmas party.

For an employee, knowing that their employer cares about wellbeing pays; being happy at work has been proven to increase productivity and efficiency.

In order for businesses to grow and succeed, an effective talent management strategy is key.

95% of team members are happier since joining Work.Life. See it for yourself; book a tour at one of our locations now.

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