Making HR a strategic partner in tech-based businesses starts with talent management (part 1)
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Making HR a strategic partner in tech-based businesses starts with talent management (part1)

As organizations become more and more tech driven, departments like HR are faced with an opportunity they’ve never had before. An opportunity to leave redundant manual work to the 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 in the area of talent management.

In this 2 part series we’ll be exploring how organizations can create a talent strategy that attracts the best people for the job. And creates the conditions that allow the organization to embrace the tools necessary for its future success.

Talent management: why?

It’s become something of a truism that a people-centric organization’s real value lies in its people. Technology is now allowing HR’s role to evolve from administrators and facilitators into guardians and cultivators of talent. Ensuring that every one of your colleagues gets the training, development, resources, and care that they need to do their jobs well, provide value, and feel like they’re part of the company’s mission.

And as competition for talent and the pressure facing all organizations to achieve more with less increases, talent management will become 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 and of itself, and will require you to carefully balance the development of new culture and priorities with your existing ones.

With this in mind, here are two of the five steps you can take towards elevating your talent management approach to the next level – and in doing so begin to take your place as a true strategic adviser to your senior leadership team.

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. For instance, economic changes place a degree of outside pressure on every level to achieve more with less expenditure, which can translate to reduced hiring budgets, reduced training budgets, and downward pressure on benefits packages.

On the other hand, 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 when reality can’t live up to the expectations.

The pressures your organization faces will be unique to it, and it’s up 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 and losing talent can cost the organization much more than leaders might think. (For example: it can take a new employee as much as a year to reach the productivity levels of their predecessor, and replacing an employee can cost you up to 20% of their salary simply to rehire them.)

2. Make sure your talent strategy aligns to company objectives

Your organization’s ability to develop and retain talent is heavily contingent on the success of your operations. Your talent strategy won’t go far if it doesn’t align to operational needs, and if operations can’t support your roadmaps for development and retention then they won’t be able to succeed.

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 won’t just make it easier to create a talent strategy that aligns with business objectives – it’s the only way to ensure that alignment will actually be possible.

For more tips on creating a next-generation talent strategy, join us for part 2, where we’ll be exploring how to pick the tools you use to assess people, how to ensure you get ahead of the competition (and stay there), and how to approach the issue of training and upskilling in a way that’s justifiable to the rest of the business.