Talent management is one of the most frequent terms in HR that often gets confused with related ones like talent acquisition and human resource management. It’s also one of the most important processes in growing and retaining a team of great employees.
Here’s what talent management is, how it’s different from talent acquisition and what steps you can take to create a talent management strategy today.
What is talent management?
Talent management is the process of recruiting, hiring, developing and retaining the best performing employees available in the talent market. Often confused with other HR terms such as talent acquisition (more on that later), it’s one of the most important process for a company of any size.
Primarily, talent management focuses on providing your existing employees to develop themselves professionally. In doing so, you’ll be building a strong employer brand, attracting the best talent in the job market and ensure they stay working for you.
What does talent management involve?
As one of the major elements of the hiring process, talent management includes the following processes:
- Developing and writing job descriptions
- Finding the best places to post job ads
- Preparing screening interviews (phone, video, in-person)
- Reviewing candidates’ applications
- Reference and background checks
- Making offers to the best candidate(s)
- Onboarding and initial employee training
- Setting hiring goals
- Organizing employee movement – promotions, lateral moves
- Terminating employee contracts, whether by choice of the employee or the company
As you can see, some of these activities (especially the one related to acquisition and hiring) are responsibilities of the HR team. However, others such as onboarding should be in the hands of the employee’s manager.
Talent management and talent acquisition
Especially if you’re new to the world of HR, you may be confusing the terms talent management and talent acquisition. Although seemingly similar, they refer to two different areas. Namely, talent acquisition is all about the processes for attracting and hiring the right kind of people to a company.
Some of the processes involved in talent acquisition include:
- Building an employer brand
- Proactively searching for candidates even when positions are filled
- Building a strong base of candidates for future hiring
- Maintaining communication with great candidates that weren’t offered a position
The key difference between talent management and talent acquisition is that talent management focuses on retaining and coaching current employees, while talent acquisition is all about drawing fresh blood to your company. Moreover, the two really cannot exist without each other – you need new talent in order to manage it.
Do you need a talent management team?
The only good answer is – it depends. If you’re behind a startup with a handful of employees, you’re probably not at a point where you need a dedicated HR team, as you have bigger hiring problems to worry about.
Here are some of the signs that you need a talent management team for your business:
- You need a method for retaining your best performing employees
- You need someone to handle employee onboarding
- You need someone to identify skills gaps and responsibilities for individual employees
- You need a talent acquisition plan for the business’ future needs
If you have a lean business with not many employees, you probably don’t need an entire team to get started. Instead, a single HR expert can help you greatly. Similarly, as your company grows, it’s the job of HR team to handle talent management.
One thing that is for certain is that even if you have an HR team, you need to ensure the team managers are in charge of at least some parts of talent management.
How to get started with talent management
Putting an effective talent management strategy in place is of utmost important if you want to hire and retain great employees. The first step is acknowledging that talent management is the duty of each member of your company, especially the managers who are in charge of other employees.
The second important thing to do is to create goals. You won’t know where you’re headed and what you want your future team to look like. Your hiring goals will not only help you shape your vision of the company’s future and determine what kind of people you want to have on board. Having clear goals will simplify your hiring processes.
Next, focus on writing better job descriptions. We’ve written about them before and we cannot stress how important they are to hiring. Often times, people who write them are HR managers and recruiters who know little to nothing about the position. The job descriptions end up botched, but managers still grade employee performance based on them. Instead, get insights from the managers to ensure job descriptions reflect real performance and not made-up HR jargon.
Once you’ve got that part done, think of hiring internally. Instead of finding a new person to get the job done, invest in your employees’ development. A bit more time and money pays off in the long run. As studies have shown, candidates hired internally are up to 18 times more productive and 50% cheaper to hire compared to those hired externally.
Finally, track your progress. If you’ve already determined your goals, it’s only reasonable to make sure that you are sticking to them. Hard data is hard to beat and it makes managers happy, so make sure to follow a determined set of hiring metrics as part your talent management initiative.
Talent management should be a part of any company’s HR strategy, no matter how big or small. Even if don’t have an HR department, by employing your managers, setting goals and tracking your progress, paying attention to your job descriptions and hiring internally, you can create a talent management pipe that will ensure hiring excellent new talent and retaining great employees in your company.