Talent Acquisition

What is talent management?

December 3, 2018

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What is talent management?

7 min read

For someone who is new to human resources, terms like talent management and recruitment can be confusing. “Aren’t they all the same thing?” or “What is talent management?”  are frequently asked questions.

The answer is: no, they aren’t, but they’re closely related. Talent management and recruitment are all different functions within the broader human resources function of a company.

Depending on the size of your company you can combine all the functions in one department or you might need separate departments to manage the entire process. And it’s not only the size of your company that dictates how you spread these responsibilities but also what type of business you have.

Do you need to separate talent management from recruitment?

Yes, you do. And to know why, let’s understand the difference between talent management and recruitment.

So what is talent management and why is it different? Talent management is a carefully crafted strategy that’s implemented with the long-term goal of driving performance through attracting, hiring, developing and retaining top talent. Talent management focuses on finding suitable candidates who have the required skills, are the right fit for the role and the company, and have the potential to be developed into future roles.

Recruitment is the process of sourcing suitable candidates to fill open vacancies in the shortest time possible. It’s less complicated, takes less time, and solves staff shortages expediently.  Recruitment focuses on finding and hiring the first most suitable candidate (mostly skills based) to fill the role.

Both involve sourcing and hiring suitable candidates. You can implement a recruitment process without having a talent management strategy, but you can’t implement a talent management strategy without having a recruitment process in place.

To better understand why you should implement a talent management strategy let’s break it down further. Even if you have a small business and are wondering what is talent management going to do for a micro-endeavour, read on.

4 reasons why a talent management strategy is essential

Implementing a comprehensive talent management strategy gives you more control over your hiring process and results in cost savings in the long term.

  1. Calculated hiring decisions: Quality hires aren’t easy to find. A long-term strategy allows you to develop a talent pipeline of suitable candidates who have the skills, experience, ethics, and personality traits that match your business.
  2. Forward-looking management: Looking ahead brings innovation and progressive thinking to your management plan. It encompasses your business’s future growth and goals by identifying candidates who not only meet the immediate need but can be developed into futures managers or product specialists.
  3. Collaborative hiring: Because the strategy is closely aligned with your business’s goals, it’s a companywide policy, involving all levels of management and staff.  
  4. Saving time and money: Poor hiring decisions are costly mistakes that drain your bottom line. Having a high staff turnover also damages your brand by sending out the wrong message to your customers.

Once defined and implemented, your talent management strategy can be woven into the fabric of your business and brand. It isn’t something that gets filed away and referred to when someone asks “what is talent management again?”. All management and staff throughout the company can contribute to the strategy.

Deciding on talent management practices

Before you can design your talent management strategy, you have to analyze and understand your business goals and overall business strategy. Identify both long and short-term goals as well as areas of your business that have potential weaknesses or need more development.

An area of potential weakness could be a department that lacks crucial skills for succession planning, or an area of development where essential skills haven’t been identified yet.

The key to talent management is maintaining the retention of existing top performers and attracting a pipeline of potential top performers so that vacancies can be quickly filled in future.

To be able to do that successfully you have to know what type of people will not only contribute to the success of your business but also buy into your company’s success. Identifying and hiring the right candidates is a time-consuming process that you can’t afford when an urgent vacancy needs to be filled. The right strategy will prevent hiring crises, hiring in haste and poor hiring decisions.

Once your talent management strategy has been implemented, it must become an ongoing task of improving your employer brand, networking, research and building relationships with job seekers, passive candidates and referrals.

Another part of the success will be to have a constant and professional presence online starting with a great careers site as well as being active on social media. What is talent management if you don’t have a strong brand?

12 key points of a talent management strategy

A talent management strategy is all about attracting the right talent, so what are the points that build the robust framework of a good policy?

  1. Employer brand: Having a strong brand will attract top talent who will want to work for your company. With a strong brand, you’ll build a solid candidate pipeline and easily attract passive candidates with the right vacancy and salary offer.
  2. Brand reputation: You have less control over your brand reputation because it’s based on how your company is perceived. That’s why having a positive and interactive online presence is vital.  
  3. Brand love: Happy, motivated employees will help you build your employer brand. People who are happy at work will tell others in their social circle or via social media. Who better to promote your brand than happy employees?
  4. Candidate experience: How candidates are treated and experience all their interactions with your company will affect both your employer brand and the brand reputation. Ensure that all communication processes are considerate and candidate focused.
  5. Recruitment and selection: Ensure that your recruitment and selection processes are fair and transparent. Also, make sure that all of your staff are aware of your process policies.
  6. Onboarding: Hiring efforts don’t end once a candidate has accepted a job offer. Onboarding new employees to make them feel welcome, settled and get them started is a vital first step in employee retention. Up to 69% of employees are more likely to stay with their employer if they had a good onboarding experience.
  7. Employee engagement: To develop your business and employees and you need to engage with them regularly. Implement systems that encourage employee engagement and that also provide feedback. If your employees think that they’re not heard, it will affect productivity and ultimately lead to high staff turnover.
  8. Employee development: Providing ongoing training, learning and career progression opportunities will improve staff retention.
  9. Performance management: Tracking employee performance opens the door to employee development and engagement and can feed into succession planning.
  10. Succession management: Being able to fill vacancies with the best talent relies on a well-developed talent pipeline as well as succession planning. If you can fill a vacancy with an existing employee, you save time, appoint someone you trust and encourage staff retention. Without a succession planning policy and employee engagement, you might not realize that you already have the skills and experience you need onboard.
  11. Inboarding: Just like new employees need to get settled and started through onboarding, so employees who’ve been promoted or moved between departments must also be given the support they need. A good inboarding process improves employee engagement and productivity and will ultimately improve staff retention.
  12. Staff retention: A high staff turnover impacts profits! Staff retention strategies include employee engagement, development, appraisal and succession management.

Digital talent management

Now that you know what talent management is, you can see how an ATS allows you to integrate and improve your talent management strategy. Data-driven screening and selection tools easily provide fairness and transparency. Integration with online portals and social media gives your employer brand the best exposure.

Add to that the data analytics of an ATS and your talent management strategy can be implemented throughout your business and managed in real time.  

Bev has enthusiastically worked to match top employers and candidates for almost twenty years. An endless curiosity of the human mind, HR tech development, how to help people reach their goals and the ever-evolving hiring landscape is what keeps her fired up.
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