The shift in talent management: is your organization ready?

As organizations have focused on technological and digital transformations, another change is taking place that affects employees and leaders alike: the way talent is managed.

As companies increasingly understand the need for a high-performing workplace, they are placing more importance on recruiting, developing and retaining employees, driving a transformation of talent management for everyone.

The new talent management

The term “talent management” in itself is telling. First, it recognizes that employees provide the intellectual and physical talent needed to run a business, and it emphasizes the need to pay attention to this talent.

A relatively new term, it represented a change in the 1990s as strategic companies began to look at their workforces differently, Tabitha Scott, director of consulting firm Cole Scott Group, told HR Dive. Companies have started looking at how to create a high-performing workforce and assessing changing needs and skills gaps, she said. As the information age took off, new skills were needed while others were less in demand.

One of the big changes has been in HR, which has traditionally focused on compliance – ensure the company followed rules on hiring, taxes, and payroll. “Talent management drives the future forward,” she said. “People are thinking about what’s coming and how am I preparing my workforce for that, including everything from acquisition, talent management and how can we retain them over time as the things are changing so fast.”

But talent management is not itnot just the responsibility of HR. Leaders and managers are expected to actively focus on the development of the employee, not just the process of running a department. Managers must listen to what employees say they need and want to be successful.

“As leaders, we have the ability to amplify what employees do or become insulators,” Scott said.

A change in the approach to business

In years past, employees would apply for jobs with stated requirements and responsibilities. If they liked some of the responsibilities but not others, that was just too bad – take it or leave it. Talent management today views job responsibilities differently, Scott said. Because employers need to motivate employees and keep them engaged, creative and successful, it becomes vital to match the employee to the right position, even if the very nature of that position must become fluid.

“Some people naturally like change, they’re driven by it,” Scott said. “They would‘t thrive in an organization or role that focuses on routine work. Others are motivated by optimizing things. They would be frustrated to come up with new things.”

This comes into play when you place people on a project. Typically, someone starts a project and sees it through; however, Scott said, employers may want people who like the change to be the ones starting the project, only to step down when the project reaches maintenance mode. Recognizing the strength of employees and positioning them to succeed — even if it means changing the job or the team — is a new aspect of talent management.

What tactics resonate with employees?

Employees are energized by a sense of being part of something bigger than themselves, Scott said. “We also need to make every aspect of employee engagement relevant and actionable,” she added in an email to HR Dive.

And customization is a big part of that. Derek Herman, product marketing at Phenom People, a talent relationship marketing platform, emphasized the need to approach talent management on an individual basis. “Personalize the employee experience so that every employee feels appreciated through some of these methods: recognition/rewards for projects, monetary gifts for personal milestones (owner, married, newborn, etc.), learning and training to develop skills and performance reviews and promotions,” he said in an email to HR Dive.

Tips for modifying and evaluating your talent management program

If you’re evaluating your current people management system and wondering if you need to make a change, where do you start?


“Before evaluating talent management practices, focus on business goals and the human capital required to achieve those goals,” Herman said. Once those are established, plan to find top talent that will complement your employee base, he said. Talent acquisition teams should only hire quality candidates who fit the criteria, fit the company culture and are engaged with the employer brand, he said.


When looking at how an individual’s strength fits into the growth and needs of the organization, consider coaching current employees to help them learn new skills in addition to bringing in new people who already have those skills. forward-looking skills, Scott added.

“The trick is to align their strengths with the strategies,” Scott said, suggesting that behavioral analytics tools can help ensure employees are placed in positions where they will thrive.

Employees need to feel empowered to use their talents and run with them, Herman added. If they are micromanaged or encounter adversity from their managers, they will quickly disengage and productivity will suffer.


Development plays a key role in a powerful and engaging employee experience, Herman said, “Keep staff engaged in work and new projects that challenge them and the resources to grow and learn. Get their input and give them leeway to prove their talents.

Are your efforts working?

If you commit to making a change, how do you know it’s working? Look at three critical factors: recruitment, management and retention, Herman said. Consider time to hire, cost per hire and quality of hire, he added. Other statistics such as the low turnover rate and the high internal mobility testify to a successful development. “If the reverse is true, your talent management process needs a second look,” he said.

Are you achieving your goals and are employees engaged? Scott asked. “If your efforts areisn’t working, go back and get a glimpse of what energizes employees and evaluate it. Until you know what you’re dealing with, it’s really hard to solve,” she added. Whether it’s sitting down and talking with employees or using an assessment tool, measure what motivates them or makes them enthusiastic about what they do, she says.

A robust and effective talent management system has become essential for any business that wants to encourage top performance from its employees. “Let’s face it, they spend more time at work than with family in many cases,” Scott said. “If they don’t like it, if they’re not energized by it, then it hurts you as a company and that notit doesn’t help them either.”

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