How can the people in charge of talent management ensure they are putting people at the center of their organizational strategies?
Encouragingly, 63 percent of respondents to an Accenture survey list HR’s need to reskill existing workforces as a higher priority than acquiring new staff. Nicole Knott, managing director of HR consulting at Accenture, says the shift highlights HR’s growing strategic role within organizations.
But for this shifting emphasis on talent management to succeed, HR needs to have a long-term, sustained approach to people management.
In this post, we explore the role that HR must play in talent management to ensure that the hiring process doesn’t end once the contract has been signed. Instead, HR professionals need to develop their people so that the best and most committed employees find ways to thrive within the organization.
Explore Your Talent Philosophy
Most employers and HR professionals agree that talent management after hiring is important. Fewer, however, can agree about precisely what it means. Maria Christina Meyers, Marianne van Woerkom, Jaap Paauwe and Nicky Dries at The International Journal of Human Resource Management explain.
The researchers suggest that the different definitions stem from the different perspectives of what talent really is, how important it is, and what value it can bring. These talent philosophies differ on two key dimensions:
- They view talent as either exclusive to the very few or inclusive in that every person has a talent.
- They view talent as either innate or acquired.
These four options inform people’s notions of what talent is and, subsequently, how they should manage it.
Assessing the philosophies of individual talent-management leaders is important because it will help organizations understand why HR teams make the decisions they do, and how their philosophies inform organizational strategy.
Align Talent Management With Talent Experience
Talent management is not just about providing employees with the resources to develop their careers. It’s also about providing a positive experience to employees, Josh Bersin explains.
To deliver an effective talent experience, HR teams need to understand what motivates employees and, indeed, what they have come to expect from employment. Bersin says key insights include the mobility of workers — people switch companies and careers multiple times in their lives. Others are working on side-hustles. Most want regular learning opportunities and to have a say over what they learn.
Promotions matter, but many employees want variation in their roles, and they want the opportunity to work on new projects and with different teams. They want comprehensive wellness programs and seek a sense of belonging.
Talent management teams, in response, want systems that can gather and analyze employee data to know which candidate is most likely to succeed in which roles, and who needs upskilling and reskilling.
Create a Culture of Internal Mobility
There are probably great candidates for your vacancies already working in the organization.
Internal mobility programs can help prepare a business for future needs. These are not the same as traditional succession planning, though. Mobility is strategic and allows HR teams to purposefully and predictively move people into new roles.
Other advantages of mobility include developing better internal and external talent pipelines, integrating teams and departments on projects, and breaking down silos.
Find Leaders Within the Organization
Succession planning is vital for organizational success. HR should be looking within the business for future leaders, says Carly Lund at The HR Director. Key qualities to search for include high intellect, conscientiousness and self-awareness, cognitive flexibility, and innovation.
Future leaders will be the people who are tech-savvy and understand the importance of big data and AI. They will be comfortable with the unknown and able to interact with and inspire diverse teams.
HR’s role is to develop employees to become leaders. They should encourage employees to become more technologically literate, and motivated to learn, upskill, and reskill where necessary.
Look to the Young and the Old
The new labor force requires all employees to pursue continuous learning and development. Education, work, and part-time work or flexible hours are all blended together. The result for talent-management teams is that they should pursue an “age agnostic” approach to hiring,
argues Jeff Hyman, adjunct lecturer of management and organizations at the Kellogg School of Management.
But many organizations tend to avoid hiring older workers because of prevailing myths. Hyman counters these myths by saying that older workers are not slow on the job, are daily tech users and fast learners, and don’t cost the company more than a younger employee. These older workers also may want to give back and could be useful mentors to younger colleagues.
Another approach is for talent-management teams to connect with high school and college students, says Serenity Gibbons, freelance writer and former Wall Street Journal assistant editor. She mentions college honor societies such as Phi Beta Kappa, Golden Key, and the SCLA, which can connect students with future employers and mentors. By forming relationships with these societies, talent-management teams can start developing their pipeline of university graduates.
Make Mentorship Matter
Employees benefit from having mentors in the organization. Mentorship programs succeed when mentor and mentee are matched through intentional consideration,
explains Veronica Tucker, senior director of HR operations and organizational development at Dataminr.
When an employee is appropriately paired with a mentor, both benefit. The new member of staff learns more about the company and their current position while the mentor has a chance to give back and make the new member feel welcome.
The employee should have clear goals that the mentorship program will help them to achieve, Tucker says. The result, if done correctly, will be an engaged new hire who wants to grow inside of the organization.
Advocate for Employees
Successful talent management requires continued engagement with employees. Indeed,
Susan M. Heathfield at Balance Careers says HR should be the employee’s advocate. Being an advocate requires HR to create a company environment that people want to be a part of and contribute to.
Setting goals, seeking feedback and empowering employees to do their best will show staff that they are valued and that HR, far from being a passive function, is a proactive agent in their development and wellbeing.
Prioritizing talent management after hiring makes sense in a labor market that is changing quickly. Reskilling has become an important focus point for many HR teams, and that requires a clear and effective talent management strategy. HR must create an environment in which employees can develop and thrive within the company. Employers, then, reap the rewards of eager, loyal, and continually learning workers.
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