The 4 key elements of a holistic talent management strategy
Part of the ASPIRE Talent Management series
The power to make confident people choices
Poor hiring strategies and decisions. Inadequate systems and technology. Ineffective leadership. High employee turnover. Low employee engagement.
Sound familiar? Perhaps you’ve struggled with some of these in an organisation you’ve worked with previously? Maybe you’re experiencing some of these challenges in your current workplace? But what is it that’s contributing to these issues? Chances are one of the main contributing factors is a lack of a solid talent management strategy. It’s not surprising when, according to Mercer, 85% of companies admit their talent management programmes and policies need an overhaul.
Let’s start with a question; how can you define talent management? It’s such a wide-ranging subject. If you get 10 people in the room and ask them what talent management is, you’ll get 10 different definitions. The CIPD have created this definition:
“the systematic attraction, identification, development, engagement, retention and deployment of those individuals who are of particular value to an organisation, either in view of their ‘high potential’ for the future or because they are fulfilling business/ operation-critical roles” – CIPD
This is an excellent and comprehensive explanation, and outlines the many components that make up the subject of talent management but to make it easier to communicate and easier for us to explain it, we created an acronym; ASPIRE. The A stands for Acquisition. SP is Succession Planning, I is Improvement and the RE in the acronym is Retention and Engagement.
The ongoing process of attracting, recruiting, inducting and making use of the right talent in alignment with your business objectives and goals.
Access to talent
Access to talent is a top priority for any growing organisation. Whether you’re a small independent company or a huge corporate, it’s getting the right talent, getting them in the right positions and the right fit, not just for the role and the organisation, but also for the culture. In simple terms it’s getting the right people on the right seats on the right bus.
It’s a big question in organisations – have we brought in and recruited the right person? It may initially seem to be the right person, but then six months down the line it’s apparent it’s not, we’ve made a bad hire and we’re then looking at dismissal. It’s key to avoid this type of pain points, by trying to make sure that you’re making confident people choices at any point in time, you can use a thoughtful approach to talent management.
Eligibility and suitability
Eligibility can be seen as the knowledge and skills – the IQ – and suitability is more based around a person’s behaviours, and their EQ. When you’re looking to bring someone in to your team, into your organisation you need to be looking at both of these aspects – which will be a helpful way of reducing your chances of making a bad hire. Can they do the job, the knowledge and the skills, but have they got the behavioural elements, the emotional intelligence too? That can go for internal promotions as well. How many times have you seen someone in your organisation promoted because they’re great at what they do? But then they struggle with the bigger management role because they’ve not got the necessary emotional intelligence to deal with the challenges of the new role.
The benefit of talent analytics
The use of talent analytics is a way to think about how you can get you that whole picture to make confident people choices. We’ve mentioned before about culture fit, about behaviours and about emotional intelligence. Talent analytics gives you the opportunity to measure these – objectively – making sure that potential talent, current talent, are going to be able to do the job that they are there for. There are lots of great tools out there, with something to suit everyone. We tend to look at the tools which don’t pigeonhole people with labels to say you’re this, or that.
Hire slowly, fire quickly
If you’ve got a good talent management strategy in place, the return of investment of employing somebody should always be positive and will to add value to your business. But what you often find is that organisations are not equipped to make a confident enough choice to bring the right person into the business and so this becomes a negative ROI – and can, in the worst cases, be up to 350% of that person’s salary – but usually sits around the 200% mark.
So if you’re employing somebody for 50k and it doesn’t work out, and you’re going to lose around about 200% – that’s a 100k loss of direct and indirect costs to the business when you consider recruitment costs, on-boarding and training costs, loss in productivity, staff morale and potential negative impact on your company reputation.
So we recommend that you hire slowly and fire quickly; hire slowly… easier said than done! Make more effort at the front end, in attracting the right person, waiting for the right person and using talent analytics to measure to make sure they are a good fit for the role, for your team and for your organisation.
And once that person is in there, how do you then induct and build your people into the organisation?
SP: Succession Planning
Succession Planning helps you to identify and prepare future potential talent to fill critical and key roles to safeguard business continuity.
Once you have your talent in your organisation you need to make sure you have a strategic succession plan to make sure that you’re talent fit at any point, enabling you to anticipate rather than react to, changes in your business.
People leave organisations – for many reasons – and you need to be ready to fill those critical and key roles that could damage your business continuity if that person was to leave, by creating a talent ready pool. Be proactive in terms of when someone leaves one of those critical key roles, because there may be some development needs you need to take care of in advance. We advise taking a step back; identify who you’ve currently got, where the potential is, and start the development now for when that person potentially leaves in three months, six months, or two years.
For the start-up and scale–up community out there, the book ‘Zero to One’ by legendary entrepreneur and investor Peter Thiel, talks about going from your idea (‘Zero’) to a business (‘One’). The team, and skills, around you which got your business off the ground, are not necessarily the team, and skills, that you need in order to get you to ‘two-X’, ‘three-X’, ‘10-X’. And so your talent profile is going to change depending on the size of the business and depending upon the challenges that you have at any point in time. So talent management needs to be integrated in your business; it’s a live event and needs to be well thought through.
The cornerstone process of bridging the skills and behavioural gaps needed to drive people, talent and business growth in your organisation
Bridging the knowledge, skills and behavioural gaps
This includes training and development of knowledge, skills and behaviours; sometimes it is knowledge and skills that somebody needs to help them go to that next level, but in a lot of cases for managers, leaders and executives, to get to that next level a behavioural change is needed. Behavioural elements and competencies certainly can be modified and changed through coaching, through development of self-awareness, and with the help of talent analytics.
It’s about ensuring any personal development plan is just that – personal to the individual. We’ve all been on sheep dip training courses where everybody’s invited to attend a training course because it’s a mandate for ticking a box (and in some cases these are required for compliance) and, with any training, there will always be something to learn – even just one little thing. But, for as a manager and leader in your organisation, how much better would it be to be going to a coaching session, to a training session which is relevant to your particular needs to improve your behavioural dynamics, to take you to that next level in your career and your job.
RE: Retention and Engagement
The emotional, intellectual and social commitment to your company’s culture, values and beliefs….
Talent retention is your reward for getting the rest right!
Business is about adding massive value to your client, and obviously you want that client to come and buy something. Your people drive your business. Your people will bring your strategies to life. Research has shown engagement is linked to performance. It’s linked to productivity. So the value-add of the individual is intrinsically linked to how engaged they are in your organisation.
It is said that people are our most important asset. For us, the right people are your most important asset. Engagement levels around the globe are averaging 30%, so according to those figures 30% of your organisation is your most important asset. There is a battle to find good talent and once you’ve found it, your task is then to keep that talent in play as long as you can. So we’ve got to get in play in your organisations high levels of engagement, high levels of retention, and you’ll do that by selecting people robustly through a good holistic and thoughtful talent management process.
A dynamic relationship
In terms of employee engagement, we talk about a dynamic relationship; there isn’t a silver bullet, and there are a lot of factors involved. We look at three factors in particular which make up the dynamic relationship.
We look at the individual and their expectations; what does the employee want from the organisation, from that particular job? We look at the organisational elements, the environment. So, is there an alignment with the values of that individual with the company and the company’s vision, values and goals? But also massively important – and it’s been shown that 70% of engagement can be down to your relationship with your manager – you’ve heard the phrase of ‘you leave your manager, not your job’ – that key relationship with your manager is vitally important to retention and engagement.
ROI – Return on Investment
The reason you want the right people in the right roles in the right organisation, for people to unleash some of their potential, is your bottom line; it’s about getting those things in place to give you the best possible chance to getting the best performance from the individuals, the teams and the organisation.
An integrated approach
So to summarise, hopefully using the ASPIRE acronym has simplified the huge subject that is talent management. We highly recommend an integrated approach to talent management using the 4 key elements as part of the strategic planning for any organisation, no matter how small or large, and take both talent analytics and emotional intelligence into consideration.
This wheel provides a reminder of those 4 key elements of ASPIRE: Acquisition, Succession Planning, Improvement, Retention and Engagement, and you’ve got your full life cycle there. And that should put you in good stead when you start thinking about a talent management strategy.
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