Running a business is impossible without people. And running a successful, competitive business is impossible without the right people.
The value of quality employees can’t be overstated. Are they a good fit based on their skills, personality and experience?
How can you find the candidate that’s so perfect for your open job that it’s like they were specially made for it?
Yes, managing your talent is about a lot more than simply locating great employees. But that’s where it all starts. The foundation, if you will.
Talent management systems come with a range of tools that help make that foundation strong from the outset:
- Applicant tracking system for managing the recruiting process
- AI capabilities, such as screening and candidate matching
- A career portal where candidates can apply
- Chatbots for answering candidate questions and providing job matches
Once candidates sign on the dotted line, onboarding enters the picture. You just spent a lot of time hiring this new person. The tools at this stage ensure they have an enjoyable experience that gets them started at your company on the right foot. These include:
- Standard forms and documents that support e-signatures
- A self-service portal where they can set up their direct deposit and other details
- Benefits selection and enrollment
- Welcome materials such as an employee handbook
Monitor employee performance
This is where managing your talent becomes a reality. Any talent management system worth its salt will have tools for tracking employee performance. Here are some specific features to be on the lookout for:
- Performance reviews
- Employee goal setting
- Visualizations for tracking performance at the team level
- Coaching tools (IBM’s Watson Career Coach is an innovative example)
- Feedback capabilities
- Competency management
Provide development opportunities
Another major component of a talent management system is a module for learning management. This allows companies to equip employees with required job skills and test for industry-specific certifications.
But learning opportunities extend beyond the necessities. Employees have aspirations, and the chance to develop valuable skills that will further their career is a major attraction.
Plus, being able to reskill or upskill your top performers is vital for succession management (we’ll get to that in a minute). Change is inevitable. A focus on developing your workforce positions your company to ride the waves of change instead of drowning.
A talent management system is often equipped with an LMS module. This gives you access to tools that aid learning and development:
- Course management
- Training and scheduling
- Performance tracking
- Integration with platforms like LinkedIn Learning
Effectively plan for the future
Planning for the future is a central part of talent management. It’s not enough to know where things stand today in terms of employee counts, performance metrics and so on. You also need to build strategies based on what’s coming down the pipeline.
What if your Superman-like Head of Sales is nearing retirement or your company is planning an expansion and needs to fill new roles?
Succession planning is one way organizations help prepare for such scenarios. It gives insight on who’s ready to advance and who can step in to fill that newly vacated role. It also provides the framework of what a company’s talent looks like in the big picture.
Succession planning requires giving employees the skills they need to move up the proverbial career ladder. The capacity for them to develop their abilities and learn new skills ensures your company will have qualified workers that can step into roles when the need arises. That makes development and coaching opportunities key parts of successful succession planning.
The list below outlines some main features of succession planning tools:
- A talent pool
- Talent assessments for hard and soft skills
- Dashboards that bring critical information front and center
- Metrics that indicate an employee’s level of readiness for advancement
- Candidate comparisons
FAQs: The Scoop on Talent Management
What Is Talent Management?
Talent management refers to the process of managing the entire employee lifecycle. The system used to execute talent management encompasses core HR functions:
- Talent acquisition
- Career development
- Compensation management
- Performance management
- Succession planning
Talent management can be thought of broadly as a strategic approach to managing an organization’s workforce both in the present and in the future. It seeks to match the right employee to the right role for the purpose of driving business outcomes. And it helps guide decisions based on anticipated needs.
Talent Management vs. HR Management
At first glance, talent management and HR management may seem similar, if not synonymous. But they have a number of differences.
- HR management encompasses every function related to human resources, such as payroll and benefits administration. Talent management, on the other hand, specifically focuses on the people side of HR.
- Talent management is a subset of HR. That’s reflected in the fact that a talent management system is often integrated into a larger HRMS or HCM (human capital management) suite.
- HR goals focus more on smooth operations, while talent management goals focus on the strategic aspect of the workforce.
How Can My Company Implement Talent Management?
As mentioned, talent management is a strategic approach. It requires planning and implementation to meet whatever goals and KPIs you’ve set. Let’s see how that plays out in practice.
Define Your Company’s Goals
What do you want to accomplish from a business perspective across your organization? This is the starting point from which your strategy needs to flow. The ability to identify objectives and priorities is the compass pointing your company toward success.
You should also list risks and potential obstacles in parallel to defining your goals. This will show you where gaps exist that a talent management strategy can fill.
Make Sure Your Employees Are Invested
This happens by aligning their goals with your organization’s strategy. It’s the principle that everyone needs to be rowing in the same direction — working together — to win the race.
Aligning goals also gives your employees a sense of ownership. Their work has meaning and value. That leads to greater empowerment, which in turn leads to greater motivation and engagement.
Measure and Improve
It’s also critical to put KPIs in place. You can do this by asking questions like:
- How are we going to measure success?
- What metrics are the most important to track?
This brings your goals into clear focus and gives you a target to aim for. And when you miss the mark, you can evaluate where you fell short and improve for the next time.
Once you have concrete numbers to shoot for, it’s time to work out how talent management initiatives will help meet those numbers. Identify key competencies that relate to individual and organizational performance, put plans in place for ensuring your workforce’s skills can produce the desired results and so forth.
This goes beyond measuring strictly corporate KPIs such as revenue generated. You can also apply it to your company culture by finding out how your employees rate their job satisfaction, peers and managers. The goal is to promote a healthy environment where your employees can flourish.
What Are the Benefits of Talent Management?
Let’s look at some of the concrete ways that implementing a talent management system can help your company:
- Develop and hire talent internally (known as inboarding)
- Identify and close skills gaps
- Provide compensation beyond normal paychecks (e.g., bonuses, commission, incentives)
- Create an employee referral program
- Retain talent and cut down on turnover
- Create a motivated, engaged workforce
- Build trust across your organization
- Enhance business performance
But that’s only half the story. Talent management is also valuable to employees. Here are some examples:
- Equips them with useful skills
- Positions them to advance in their careers
- Helps them explore different career paths based on skills and interests
- Gives them a quality experience with your company
- Makes them feel like they belong
- Encourages them to fulfill their potential
Do I Need a Talent Management System?
This depends entirely on your organization’s set up, goals and priorities. Are you a small business that has a team of five people? In that case, a full-blown talent management system might cost more than it’s worth.
But generally speaking, a talent management system is a good investment to make. Exactly how you go about that is up to you. Here are a couple popular options:
- Choose HR software that has a talent management module already integrated or that can be added on.
- Implement a standalone talent management system and go through the process of integrating it with your HR solution.
- Piece together a talent management system using standalone products for recruiting and talent acquisition, learning management and so on.
As you can guess, having a standard HR system is pretty much non-negotiable. And the depth of functionality varies across vendors and systems. Some will cover most major HR needs using a single platform, others offer payroll separately, others have a full product suite so you can choose which components you want, and on it goes.
Picking a talent management system with so many choices and variations starts to feel overwhelming. That’s why we recommend you spend time researching the market to understand what your options are.
How Do I Select a Talent Management System?
The people you choose to be part of your company are critical to your overall success. As such, the software you select to manage your talent is equally important.
But choosing the right solution isn’t a simple matter. It involves gathering your requirements and conducting extensive research. Checking prices, attending demos, shortlisting vendors — it’s a complicated process.
We want to help make that process easier. To that end, we’ve created some free resources to guide your search: