What is Talent Management?

April 17, 2018

The professional goal of managing talent is really pretty simple: to help companies live their missions with the help of their employees. It’s all about a company’s commitment to recruit, hire, retain, and develop the most talented leaders and employees in an industry.

Talent managers are undoubtedly a valuable part of a company’s frontline for talent acquisition, recruiting, and retention. Their skill goes far beyond finding the right people for the job — it ensures those same people can shine their brightest.

Talent managers will sometimes oversee the overall employment lifecycle of their hires. This might include a few different activities, such as:

  • Ensuring a smooth onboarding process
  • Finding and cultivating mentorships
  • Identifying and closing any skills gaps
  • Making introductions around the office
  • Setting up additional training
  • Taking care of basic HR needs
  • Learning about a new hire’s career goals and interests — and helping to make these a reality

For employees, talent managers are invaluable as they connect them to the internal people and resources they’ll need, and help them hit the ground running from day one.

What does it take to be a talent manager?

It makes sense that successful talent managers spend a lot of time talking to people over the phone and in person. Like others in the field of talent acquisition, recruiting and HR, you should be able to bring on your poise with senior executives, but also know how to disarm your charges quickly with a joke or a funny anecdote. This is a key part of the role: building relationships while using your people sense to gauge things like whether someone’s happy, whether there’s chemistry between a would-be mentor and mentee, and whether a candidate is a good fit for your company.

It also helps to be highly-organized and diligent, as most of a talent manager’s daily activities is centered around sourcing candidates, building a recruiting pipeline, tracking applications, and coordinating communications with candidates, hiring managers, new hires, and other company stakeholders. This may sound tedious, but remember that you’ll always be in a true advantageous position. Not only do you have the ear of some of your company’s most senior leaders, you also have a front-row seat to your company’s workforce planning strategies. You also have the unique political advantage of having met — and likely gotten to know — nearly every employee who walks through the door. Your role has a real and significant impact in the recruiting, hiring, and cultivation of some of your company’s key employees.

How can talent management help your business?

Having a talent management plan is one way to elevate your company’s HR, talent acquisition, and recruiting efforts. It’s a hiring system and overall business strategy that develops potential hires into an awesome workforce. This can have significant, measurable, and lasting business implications on a company’s bottom line.

And, just by having a talent management system, your company becomes more attractive to future candidates. It shows that your company is commitment to finding and retaining talented and qualified people, and it promotes employee engagement and job satisfaction — especially when workers see that professional support, development, and growth are top priorities for your company.

Talent management can give your company an edge over competitors. Done well, it will bring quality candidates in your doors during a hiring phase, and later on, will encourage high-performing, invaluable employees to stay.

The talent management process

When it comes to certain points along an employee’s lifecycle, your company’s Human Resources (HR) department can — and should — take the lead. That’s particularly true when it comes to onboarding, performance reviews, career planning, and terminations.

But it’s talent managers who often either oversee these actions, or carry them out themselves. They remain the link between departments, and a buffer from company functions that might view new hires more impersonally. This way, your new employee feels like a VIP, not just the next person to fill a seat.

The process of hiring and developing talent at your company involves many steps as it continues through the employee lifecycle, but the bulk of the process can be organized into 5 categories:

Step 1 - Create a process

Use a documented, systematic hiring process with buy-in from all stakeholders and team members, and coach them on how to use the system. In larger organizations, talent managers often use some sort of electronic database, software solution, or HRIS (Human Resource Information System). This will help track the career paths of employees within a company. It helps if this system allows for fast and easy collaboration with your teammates, offers flexibility and has integration capabilities, and fits the needs of the hiring process you define.

Step 2 - Screen applicants

Using a well-defined selection process, find quality candidates who have the potential to add to your organization's culture. In-house interviews can involve multiple meetings with many of your current employees, so work with them to schedule. Finally, don’t forget to check the candidate’s credentials and do the appropriate background checks.

Step 3 - Make an offer

This probably requires buy-in from hiring managers and other departmental staff. But before making an offer, you can ensure that all compensation or reward packages are at, or above, market price for desirable candidates — and prepare to negotiate from there. No matter how cool your company culture is or how many fun perks there are, a paycheck is a powerful draw. Get your financial ducks in a row so that money doesn’t get in the way, especially when you’re trying to cinch the deal.

Step 4 - Onboard and train your new hire

Set a start date, and follow your company’s guidelines for onboarding new employees. Your HR colleagues may be assigned to provide the admin support, training, and orientation materials that a new employee needs on their first day. But you can provide the most valuable piece: making them feel comfortable.

As a talent manager, you’re one of first few people outside of a new employee’s team that they’ll have a connection with at the company, so you’re in the best position to introduce them around, help them get set up, and even just let them know where the best lunch spots are. Help them understand the company’s social and cultural rhythms. Is it anti-social to put on headphones and work? Is there a happy hour on Friday (even a secret one)? Do most people work from home on Fridays?

Your goal should be to smooth their way as they make sense of their new surroundings, processes, and co-workers. Also, you’ll likely be the one to ensure they complete the trainings and orientations needed to get up to speed, and check in with them about how these sessions were. This could mean working with your operational support team to ensure that there’s space for this new employee and checking with their direct manager to make sure they’ll have meaningful work assignments lined up.

Step 5 - Set goals and provide feedback

Make sure new employees know how they’ll be evaluated on the job — as laid out by their direct managers — and then encourage Individual Development Plans (IDPs) that include individual 30-day, 60-day, and 90-day goals. Beyond that, talent managers are there to connect the employee to development opportunities outside of their immediate duties, like career pathing, succession planning, and on-the-job training. On a more human level, offer them plenty of mentorship and feedback. All employees, but especially new ones, love feeling valued and important.

When it begins as a stack of resumes, talent management can seem like a daunting and tedious task. But when the perfect candidate emerges from the pile of screeners who’s as excited about the role as you are by their potential, you’ll feel the satisfaction of a job well done, a candidate well-placed, and your company’s new talent well-primed for success.

Tips for effective talent management

There are a lot of best practices within talent management and acquisition, but here are a few extra tips for effective for hiring and managing:

Tip 1  - Define the need and the outcome

When you begin the talent management process, it’s good to carefully define the key requirements for the job you’re hiring for, as summarized in a well-written job description. For example, what skills would an employee need coming in, and what could be developed through skills training? You can also set parameters for what true success looks like once they’re in the job. This is where a talent manager can truly shine: when the employee they help hire turns out to be as stellar as promised, and, having been set up for success from day one, is happy to stay.

Tip 2  - Iterate the process

Take time to regularly evaluate the talent management process, getting feedback from every person in the workflow (senior managers, applicants, new hires, etc.). Open up a space to discuss any challenges or changes for next time, particularly if a new hire doesn’t stay in the position they were hired for. In fact, some of the most useful information a company can get from employees is on their way out. Include an exit survey (or interview) for anyone leaving the company to get a candid assessment of their their hiring, onboarding, and training experiences.

Examples of talent management strategies

Talent management strategies can vary, but some of the best come from staying organized, staying informed, and seizing opportunities. Some common tactics for finding, hiring, managing, and keeping great employees include:

Step 1 - Use experts

Dig deep with your recruiting efforts by tapping into subject experts in the field you’re searching in, and finding the educational programs, professional organizations, networking events, or other relevant groups that can connect you with potential candidates with particular skill sets. Advertise with them, and get leads to find your company through various avenues, including job ads with landing pages you customize yourself.

Step 2 - Look at hiring trends

Reviewing past hiring trends at your own organization and also in the broader job market can provide useful information about successful recruiting strategies, including identifying locations, events, and forums that are useful for targeting certain functions. The data can also be used to track retention rates and longevity at your own company, revealing insights into employee engagement and happiness.

Step 3 - Promoting from within

Succession planning is a hiring strategy that identifies peak performers from within the company and promote them. This helps your talent acquisition team and the organization overall, too, since there’s no need to perform onboarding or orientation with new employees. Chances are, the promoted employee and their new manager already know each other. Internal promotions also boosts morale, and builds lasting loyalty and leadership.

Talent management and recruiting using Linkedin

An airtight recruitment process can help you hire employees quickly, efficiently, and ahead of your competition. Done well, the process of finding quality candidates will grow your network and open many opportunities. You can boost your process of finding and hiring top talent, and also managing your employees’ needs so they become your top performers. Here are 3 LinkedIn Talent Solutions tools to help:

LinkedIn Recruiter

LinkedIn Recruiter gives you unparalleled access into Linkedin’s huge network of candidates, and can help narrow down your search to find the right candidates. It also makes it easy to collaborate with your team about your pipeline. By using it, you can:  

Step 1 - Connect with the right people

With Recruiter, you can reach out to a candidate with a personalized InMail or message, or, send templated messages to more than one at a time using the batch feature.

Step 2 - Gather a pool of promising applicants

With our search insights tool, project folders and tags, you’ll be armed with streamlined messaging and data to become an expert in the market you’re searching in. Contact qualifying candidates to fill your pipeline full of promising talent.

Step 3 - Integrate your own Applicant Tracking System (ATS)

You can integrate your own ATS with LinkedIn, so you can add candidate records, collaboration tools, even more data with Recruiter.

LinkedIn Pipeline Builder

LinkedIn Pipeline Builder is a tool used to create and edit custom landing pages (with personalized messaging), track views, and communicate with leads — and it works seamlessly with Recruiter.

Step 1 - Contact qualifying leads

Use Recruitment Ads via sponsored content to target members based on job function, region, skills, seniority, or other criteria.

Step 2 - Send them to the exact page you want

Excite candidates with landing pages personalized just for them, with rich media, or customizable information about the role, team, company or recruiter.

Step 3 - Reach out

Leads who indicated interest via the landing page, are now identifiable and available for your recruiting team to follow up with.

LinkedIn Career Pages

LinkedIn Career Pages are another way to attract potential candidates. They allow you build a customized company landing page with tabs that highlight your culture, brand, and job opportunities.

Step 1 - Use rich media

Use photos, video, and slideshows to tell your company story, along with tailored messaging to get the interest of the right candidate.

Step 2 - Get informed with analytics

Take advantage of Career Pages’ analytics to track, improve, and share how your recruitment goals are being met with your employer brand.

Step 3 - Spread the word

Use targeted Recruitment Ads to drive leads to your customized, branded Career Pages.

A talent management plan can bring the best candidates into your door, but a successful one will ensure those new employees are set up to hit the ground running, do their best work, and stay for the long haul.

For more helpful tips and techniques, download: The 2018 Ultimate Recruiting Toolbox for Talent Pros.

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