Essential talent management tools

There’s a problem that small and medium-sized, privately-owned but fast-growing companies often don’t see coming until the damage is done. Namely, they only realize too late the loss of value due to immature talent development, retention, assessment and recruitment processes.

Why is talent ignored?

There are several reasons for this phenomenon. Prioritization is at the top of the list. The very nature of high growth means that a company is so focused on opportunity that it often doesn’t notice how suboptimal talent management processes eat away at or even bite into performance. Then comes the pace of change. The fact is that with each new surge in sales, de facto, the organization responds and a new business is formed.

Or in other cases, owners and managers simply have no formal experience in organizational performance. They don’t understand how the loss of talent limits or impairs performance and growth. In short, they cannot know what they do not know.

And as pointed out in The talent imperativea report recently published by Forbes Insights and BMO

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, this damage, at least initially, is hidden by overwhelming success in other aspects of the business. The opportunity is so lush that any organization can find ripe choices, regardless of the preparation of its individual employees for their roles, or the overall integration of talent and strategy as a whole.

What are the necessary tools ?

Moving from an ad hoc program to a strategic talent management program can greatly help a company achieve its business goals. And while there is no one-size-fits-all solution to talent optimization, leaders should consider implementing things like:

  • Objective measures The need for metrics seems obvious. However, in a context of strong growth, job descriptions often change, as do the nature of the associated opportunities. But regardless of those challenges, no company will ever be able to get the most out of its workforce without clearly defining roles and objectives, as well as tackling issues like incentive compensation and advancement. What defines success in this role? How is performance measured? Every employee should have a clear understanding of how they fit in. (Too often this is not the case.)
  • Strategic alignment Talent, too often, is treated as an afterthought. According to the survey of The talent imperative, less than one in ten senior executives of midsize private companies say their talent strategies are closely aligned with overall strategic planning. This can be a critical mistake because any strategic plan must be executed by people. Thus, integrating the HR perspective – injecting talent into strategic planning – becomes an essential and relatively easy-to-use tool for optimizing overall performance.
  • Targeted training and development As talent and strategy align more closely, companies will begin to better manage their specific talent challenges. Often at the top of the list of things to do: improve training and development.

One way to get things done quickly is to establish a Coaching program. Here, the company assigns a senior and experienced manager to develop a relationship with one or more high potential individuals within the organization. Another proven way is to implement rotating assignments. Here, high-potential employees are exposed to a range of functions in the organization.

Another cost-effective way to train and develop is to partner with local schools to develop – or simply refine existing courses – to meet employer needs. Companies can also encourage more experienced workers to develop training videos.

  • Identification/retention of key talents Going hand-in-hand with training and developing talent, fast-growing companies need to ensure their most valuable employees are engaged and satisfied: with work-life balance, compensation, strategic direction and a multitude of related variables. Once dissatisfied, it is often too late to change things. Companies must make a concerted effort to proactively identify and work to meet the needs of their most critical talent.
  • Career path As talent management processes mature, companies can begin to add elements that can lead to anything from improved performance to breakthrough. Providing every worker – especially its most valuable employees – with a clear job description and performance metrics is just the start. The most enlightened companies go even further. That is, they engage with each employee to get an idea of ​​their personal abilities, aspirations and needs in order to develop a plan for growth and development within the organization .

Where do they want to go in their career? What can they do for the organization? What can the organization do to improve work/life balance? What training or work experience will they need? If employers can better align the interests of individuals with those of the organization as a whole, employee engagement and performance are enhanced.

  • Talent mapping Talent mapping is a formalized process that connects available talent to talent that will be needed to support growth to assess gaps or gaps. As companies seek better alignment between talent management and strategic planning, they are beginning to see increasing value in talent mapping.

Prioritize efforts

A sophisticated, comprehensive and value-generating talent function will not be created overnight. On the contrary, as talent and strategic and operational planning become more intertwined, the most pressing opportunities become more visible. Start with the areas deemed most important and build overall talent capabilities over time. Again, the biggest mistake made is to completely ignore talent. Once real awareness sets in, the talent equation will begin to optimize.

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