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5 steps to develop a successful talent strategy – with examples

As organizations become more and more tech-driven, departments like HR are presented with an opportunity they’ve never had before. An opportunity to leave redundant manual work to  robots and take a seat at the table as strategic partners – equipped with rock-solid data and actionable insights that can help guide decisions from the C-suite down.

But stepping up to this role will require a step-change in the way HR teams operate. It’s not just a question of buying in the right tools, but of being at the center of a cultural change that affects the entire organization. And that cultural change must begin with talent management.

What is talent strategy?

Talent management strategies  are simply the process of ensuring that you know what people you have in your organization, know what their skills are, have a clear idea of what your resource needs will be – now and in the future – and having a plan in place to hire externally for those skills or upskill your current workforce.

It has become something of a truism that a people-centric organization’s real value lies in its people. Technology now allows HR’s role to evolve from administrators and facilitators into guardians and cultivators of talent.

And as competition for talent and the pressure facing all organizations to achieve more with less increases, talent management becomes increasingly important to both maintaining an organization’s culture and maintaining its ability to function. In the modern environment, an unexpected departure carries a high cost in terms of lost productivity, rehiring the vacancy, and the onboarding and training process for the new hire.

Cultivating a modern approach to the management of talent will be the first place that you can demonstrate HR’s new expanded role and capabilities to your C-suite. But doing it is a change project in itself and will require you to carefully balance the development of new culture and priorities with your existing ones.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at 5 ways in which you can elevate your talent management approach to the next level.

1. Understand the external and internal forces influencing the talent management challenge – and act accordingly

Talent management is affected by forces originating inside and outside of your organization. External economic pressures can lead to depressed hiring and training budgets and downward pressure on compensation. Internal pressures in the form of a demand for high ROI on training and development projects can see initiatives cancelled or stopped before they start.

The pressures your organization face will be unique and it’s down to you to determine what they are and shape your approach accordingly. When it comes to pressures on training and development, it’s up to you to demonstrate that maintaining and developing talent pays dividends.

Full collaboration and data sharing between your HR and Finance teams can be used to create a complete picture of your company’s internal benchmarks and expectations, and external pressures like the talent market, compensation levels, and average hiring timelines and processes.

2. Make sure your talent strategy aligns with company objectives

Your organization’s ability to develop and retain talent is heavily contingent on the success of your operations. Your talent management strategy model won’t go far if it doesn’t align with overall company needs.

As organizations and their operations become more and more complex, a “one size fits all” approach is increasingly unfit for purpose. Take the time to understand the skill progressions and career tracks taken by the specialists in different departments and develop parallel path talent management processes that can work for your entire workforce.

This level of integration between talent and company strategy can only be achieved with modern HCM technology that can provide an insight into how talent needs intersect with operational reality and the pursuit of higher-level strategic goals.

3. Make proactive moves to get ahead of your competitors

Best practice for developing talent management strategy positions leaders within the organization to take advantage of every opportunity to help their businesses.

Simply jumping on new trends will not lead to success when it comes to attracting and retaining employees. You’ll need to anticipate and adapt to new opportunities before the rest of the market.

This will mean structuring your teams to set aside time and resources to experiment and to quickly embrace and adopt new policies, including everything from flexible working to new forms of engagement and beyond.

4. Pick training essentials carefully – and execute them well

Taking a proactive stance on assessing key skills and training needs helps position HR as a strategic partner to the organization. Training occupies the unusual position of being both essential and unwanted - often failing to live up to management expectations in terms of their ROI.

Overcoming these obstacles means taking a surgical approach in allocating training budgets and resources and treating all training as a change project. Focus on different techniques of change management to get the highest utilization out of your training, and set expectations early at a reasonable level as to both results and ROI.

5. Use a variety of tools to assess the capabilities of your workforce

The mechanistic processes of the factory floor must be done away with in the 21st century to create a compelling and effective talent strategy. While traditional HR activities like annual appraisals and reviews can still be effective, they are no longer enough to assess performance.

Yearly or even quarterly conversations with employees are completely inadequate as a measure of engagement - which can trend up or down very rapidly, and which is most effectively addressed with much more frequent and small-scale engagement pulses.

How can Unit4 help you?

Unit4 creates HCM technology specifically designed for the unique needs of people-centric organizations. Helping you to manage and develop your people, attract world-class talent, and ensure and proactively attract engagement. Together with our next-generation ERP and FP&A tools, our software can do everything from suggest avenues for development to proactively identify flight risks, allowing you to help your employee get the most out of what you can offer them so they can in turn contribute effectively to your organization’s goals.

To discover more, you can check out our dedicated HCM product pages here. Or click here to book a demo and see what our solution can do for your organization yourself.

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