In today’s dynamic business environment, the cultivation and retention of skilled employees are critical for sustained success. Instead of always seeking external talent, organizations can strategically focus on finding and investing in talent within their existing workforce. This approach not only fosters employee loyalty but also contributes to a culture of continuous improvement and innovation. This article explores strategies for identifying and investing in employee talent internally. An effective talent strategy incorporates different aspects of the talent management process, from hiring to retaining employees. As a human resources professional or manager, you want to ensure your organization has employees who can support organizational objectives. In this article, we discuss what a talent strategy is and provide steps to develop one.
What is a talent strategy?
Companies use a talent strategy to find and attract the right employees, then help them reach their full capabilities once they join the company. This strategic process identifies skills gaps and aims to develop and train employees quickly, enabling more productivity and better performance. By providing training and development resources, these organizations also engage their employees. Maintaining that engagement can be an effective way of retaining talent, as the employees feel more valued by the company.
Components of an effective talent strategy
When developing a talent strategy, you can use some of the following elements to ensure its effectiveness:
- Keep culture in mind: When hiring employees, you don’t have to focus solely on the skills they possess. Be mindful of how they will fit into your company culture. While skills are important, you can teach and train your employees on hard skills. However, you cannot change who they are as people. You want to find talent that will thrive in your company’s environment and add new or unique perspectives to teams.
- Creates a positive employee experience: The human resources personnel or other managers who supervise the talent management strategy must ensure that they develop one that considers employees’ needs. To do this, you must align talent with the responsibilities that excite them and suit their skills. Engaged employees not only feel happier at work, but they create better results for the organization.
- Aligns with organizational priorities: A talent strategy needs to support your organization’s business strategy and objectives. Think about how it could impact factors such as revenue, profits, customers and productivity. As you define your priorities, you can determine whether you need to hire new employees or reassign existing employees to new roles or tasks.
- Identifies top talent: Do not solely focus on finding new talent externally—you must also look internally for your organization’s next leaders. Make sure to implement strategies for identifying and evaluating existing employees who show potential for more advanced roles within the company. Think about the steps to take once you find these individuals, such as whether you will move them into management training or other development programs.
How to create a talent strategy
You can use the following steps when developing a talent strategy at your organization:
1. Identify organizational goals
When developing a talent strategy, you must align it with your organization’s goals and priorities. Identify what you want to achieve, then determine how employees can help you get there. You may need to figure out how many people you need to reach the objectives, which may involve creating new roles or hiring employees. Or you may realize your employees need specific skills, which could require training existing employees or hiring people who already have those skills.
2. Recognize challenges
Take the time to determine any internal and external challenges your organization currently faces. You want to identify these challenges early so you can provide a smooth implementation of your strategy. These challenges may affect any part of the talent process, from hiring new employees to retaining existing employees. For example, the current job market may be highly competitive. As a result, you can adjust your talent strategy to ensure your organization attracts candidates by implementing an improved benefits package.
3. Perform a gap analysis
A gap analysis is a tool that you can use to compare your current situation to your ideal performance or results. Once you identify the gap, you can start creating strategies to fill it and meet your objectives. For example, you may have a goal to increase the number of customers you serve. To determine the gap, you must identify how many customers you currently have and the number of customers you need to reach your specific goal. From there, you can begin discussing solutions to put in place that will help you gain more customers.
4. Create priorities
Once you identify your gaps and discuss solutions, you can create priorities for the human resources department and managers to follow as they recruit and retain talent. You may have identified the need to hire employees with specific qualifications or in targeted locations, for example. As a result, you would direct your organization’s recruiters or hiring managers to focus on these factors when identifying new talent. Typically, you would provide timelines for these goals, such as hiring a certain number of employees before the next quarter.
Beyond hiring priorities, the HR department may also be responsible for coordinating internal training and development plans. These serve as a way to boost current performance and keep employees engaged. For example, to fulfill a goal to improve your customer service rankings, you may direct the HR department to source and organize relevant training courses that build employees’ customer service skills.
5. Assess your job descriptions
When you need to hire new talent as part of your strategy, be mindful of the job descriptions for open positions. These descriptions should specify the necessary qualifications and skills, along with the responsibilities the employee must perform. Also, include details about the company’s mission and values and define how the role aligns with them.
Take time to do the same for existing roles that you may not be hiring for right now. Defining specific details about the roles and their responsibilities can help managers better evaluate employee performance. Assessing your job descriptions and ensuring that they have the most relevant information can strengthen your company culture and brand, both internally and externally.
6. Maintain focus on existing employees
While your talent strategy may require looking externally for talent, remember to continue investing in your existing workforce. When you performed a gap analysis, you may have identified training needs that help your employees support organizational goals. As a result, you can begin implementing training or providing any necessary resources to satisfy those gaps. Employees who see that their employer wants to see them develop and succeed feel more valued at work and more likely to stay.
Another way to invest in existing talent is by promoting and hiring internally. Doing this can motivate employees because they feel that they have advancement opportunities to work toward. It can also make them feel valued if they see the company reward people for their hard work. These factors can contribute to making employees happier and retaining them. Furthermore, hiring and promoting talent from within the organization can also help your organization save money on the costs associated with hiring new talent.
7. Monitor your progress
As you implement your talent strategy, you need to determine how to measure its success. These metrics may vary based on your goals but could include monitoring employee performance or the turnover rate. You can find software to compile hard data, but you also may want to gain staff feedback about the strategy. For example, managers can conduct performance reviews and offer feedback on whether they saw noticeable changes post-implementation.
8. Make adjustments as needed
As successful as your talent strategy is, there is usually always room for improvement. When you receive feedback from employees, consider their ideas. They appreciate feeling heard by leaders, especially when it leads to changes that make their experience at work better. Furthermore, your industry will continue to change, and your strategy must change with it to ensure you remain a competitive option for employees. Keep track of any talent strategy trends that help recruit and retain employees, such as exciting new benefits to offer or innovative onboarding techniques.
Finding and investing in employee talent internally is a strategic imperative for organizations aiming for long-term success. By creating a culture of continuous learning, providing growth opportunities, and leveraging technology for talent management, businesses can build a workforce that is not only skilled but also committed to the organization’s success. Regular reassessment and adaptation of strategies ensure that the talent management approach remains aligned with the organization’s goals and the evolving needs of the workforce.