Talent Management: What Is It? (With Examples)

By Chris Kolmar - Nov. 17, 2020
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Human capital management, otherwise known as human resource management, involves finding, hiring, managing, and optimizing a workforce.

Talent management is a subset of human capital management that focuses on strategically planning and transforming workspaces through recruiting, acquiring, and retaining talented people.

There are more open roles than qualified individuals to fill them, so well-planned talent management and talent acquisition strategies are crucial for optimizing your organization.

In this article, you’ll learn to develop and employ excellent talent management and why this is a necessary business strategy for a successful organization.

What is Talent Management?

Talent management is a process that involves attracting, hiring, and retaining excellent employees for your organization. It is a constant and consistent process that entails helping employees develop skills while also providing motivation and career advancement opportunities.

The purpose of talent management is to create and keep a dedicated, empowered, and knowledgeable workforce who feel invested in staying with the company. Motivated, dedicated employees will do better and bring the organization along with them.

Talent management is not simply about hiring the right people for the job. It is a complex strategy beginning before recruitment and continuing throughout an employee’s time working with the organization.

After creating policies and guidelines for recruitment, and after searching and finding the right people, talent management continues throughout the entire employee life cycle. It includes onboarding, training, reviewing performance, offering development opportunities, and fostering career advancement.

Talent management starts with understanding the organization’s goals and overall aims. From there, you can develop a strategy that aligns with those stated goals.

Talent management is a long-term investment in your employees and the values driving your HR planning. It requires patient and strategic talent reviews, development, and planning to achieve the best retention rates.

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Talent Management as a Business Strategy

When it comes to attracting and retaining talented employees, contending with the many other open positions vying for qualified talent can be difficult. There are often more open positions than there are capable people to fill them. Some call this a “war on talent,” and it requires excellent talent management practices to overcome.

Your employees are your most valuable asset, and only through their work can your organization be successful. Failing to have a proper and fitting talent management strategy (or failing to leverage it properly) leaves this valuable asset unguarded and up to chance.

Strategically utilizing and advertising your talent management strategy helps to not only retain employees but to attract them to your organization as well. If potential employees know that you have a well thought out talent management strategy involving professional development opportunities, they are much more likely to seek out and apply to your organization.

The opportunity for employees to advance in their career as well as develop and hone useful skills on the job is one of the top motivators for people, perhaps even on par with monetary compensation. This is because individuals have a deep interest in personal and professional growth, and choose jobs that offer this.

Talent management also helps to retain and selectively advance current employees within the organization. Investing in promotion and growth opportunities for current employees not only motivates retention, but it helps save the organization money that could have been lost to recruiting, hiring, and training a replacement employee.

High turnover rates not only waste money, but they also reflect poorly on an organization. No one wants to work at a company with a new staff every week, and your organization will bleed talent. This is what makes talent management so vital.

The business strategy of talent management is shaped around the desire to retain your industry’s most talented and qualified employees. There are various ways you can approach this strategy.

Developing a Talent Strategy

There are many different strategies that organizations can use to ensure high-quality job candidates and employees that are eager to stick around. Start by analyzing your company’s workforce as it stands.

Identify where your workforce may have “gaps” or need extra help with new employees. Also, take time to recognize top achievers and talent within your workforce and offer them leadership and career advancement opportunities. This is a crucial first step in developing or re-tooling a talent management strategy.

Once you’ve developed your strategy, you can begin seeking out talented candidates and potential new employees. You might consider researching and reaching out to notable talent within the industry, incentivizing referrals from current employees, and other recruitment strategies.

When it comes to employee retention, there is a key principle to keep in mind. Employees will be invested in sticking around if they are happy in their work environment, fulfilled by and interested in their work tasks, and if they do not feel “stuck in place.”

Poor work environment, unengaging work, and lack of advancement opportunities are among the top reasons people end up quitting their jobs. Let your employees know that your organization is invested in their success and their future, and you will accomplish the best work and achieve the best results.

Take time to understand what programs and policies will motivate your employees. Your talent management strategy may include offering career guidance or helping employees to shape the paths of their careers. It could also include training, classes, or mentorship that both develop and invest in your employees.

An important foundation of good talent management is in creating a healthy and happy company culture. Listen to your employees and seek feedback from them on the effectiveness of different strategies. Make sure that your workers know they are a valued part of your organization.

Every company runs its talent management a little differently based on their organization’s needs (and how well they’re fulfilling these needs). In certain organizations, the duties of talent management may fall solely to HR, but other companies understand the necessity of integrating and involving other departments.

Some organizations may only have a talent management strategy in place for potential employees, or even for only the most desired employees. Other organizations include every employee. Some companies may rely on computer software for the bulk of their talent management system, while others use informal, internal communication.

However you choose to run your talent management system, be sure to think through your strategy and be sure it is the best one for your organization.

Processes of a Talent Management System

The following systems are all involved in the talent management system. It’s up to your organization to utilize these strategies according to your goals and organizational needs. You should consider these systems in planning an overall business strategy to hire, develop, and retain talented employees.

  • Identifying the values and aims of an organization. Determine your highest priorities to structure programs and policies, and pinpoint changes you need to make.

  • Finding and attracting talented employees. Involves strategic job descriptions, searching professional social media sites, and incentivizing referrals and recommendations.

  • Recruiting and hiring talented employees. Structuring and conducting interviews, and negotiating between employer and potential employee.

  • Retaining employees. Employee retention is a common problem in organizations, and it comes down to figuring out the best strategies to invest in your workforce.

  • Development opportunities. Investing in employee development through things such as training or mentorship can improve your workforce while motivating employees

  • Career advancement. Identifying talented internal candidates for leadership roles and assisting in career planning.

  • Evaluating performance. Measuring and appraising the performance of your employees, strategically assigning tasks.

  • Succession planning. Along with career advancement, succession planning consciously thinks through how to replace positions in the case of promotion or an employee’s departure.

Manager’s Key Role in Talent Management

While some may associate talent management exclusively with the HR department, it’s actually a shared responsibility across all leaders in an organization. All managers, top-level leaders, and employees working in relevant areas such as staffing or compensation need to be on the same page when it comes to talent management strategies.

Managers have an essential role in providing day-to-day guidance to their employees, and thus they play an equally important role in talent management. While HR handles much of the formal and administrative duties in structuring employee-related policies and programs, managers directly impact their employees.

HR departments will still be taking the lead when it comes to certain systems, such as recruitment or termination, and will, of course, still be deeply involved in all performance management processes. However, managers are responsible for applying these processes and have a tremendous effect on an employee’s ability to succeed.

At the end of the day, talent management will always start at the top. It all comes down to how you structure and run your organization, and whether the top-level leaders of a business have a strong vision and genuinely value their employees’ success. Strong and understanding leadership will attract, motivate, and retain talented workers.

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Chris Kolmar


Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

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