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The secret to talent management planning

The secret to talent management planning

There’s an old adage that you cannot run before you can walk. The same principle can be applied to talent management; you cannot create an effective talent management strategy without first understanding the business’s strategy.

That’s because talent management is more than recruitment; it’s about unifying talent strategy with business objectives. By focusing first on business operations and the organisation’s strategic goals, you can accurately and very naturally prepare for the future and provide the necessary skills as and when required for the maximum benefit.

As well as linking to business strategy, effective talent management responds to outside factors that could impact the organisation and/or the skills it requires. For instance, what will be the impact of skill shortages or rapid technological advances?

This big picture ensures you know what you are planning for and can answer questions such as: What skills are needed by when? Are these skills currently available in our workforce? If not, can employees be upskilled or promoted to fill skill gaps? If so, how can suitable employees be identified? What skills will need to be recruited externally? Do we require permanent or temporary/contract resources?

Only 30% of organisations use big data to manage talent

Given the number of factors today’s HR professionals need to take into consideration, it’s understandable that many in HR look for further insights from big data and analytics. Accurately forecasting workforce requirements, future skill gaps and even predicting resignations barely scratch the surface of the answers big data can provide.

However it seems the adoption of these tools is far from universal. In a survey of ours of 1,516 employers and employees, only 30 per cent of employers said they use data and analytics to organise, operate and manage talent while 22 per cent plan to begin using data in this way in the next 12 months. That leaves almost half (48 per cent) who do not – or have no immediate plans to – use big data and analytics for talent management purposes.

Perhaps this is due to the challenges employers say they face when using data and analytics in talent management. According to our survey, these include making sure the data collected is meaningful and will help make informed talent decisions (87 per cent), up-skilling the HR team to use data to make decisions (43 per cent), legal issues around the data that can and can’t be used and what can be done with it (19 per cent), data security (18 per cent), recruiting a data engineer and data scientist (12 per cent) and data storage (12 per cent).

The first point is extremely important – while a seemingly endless amount of workforce data can be captured, you need to ask the right talent management questions so that big data provides you with relevant and helpful answers.

Employees want challenging work and career development – so use it to your advantage

We’ve focused so far on the importance of linking talent management to an organisation’s objectives and the wider world of work in which we all operate. Now lets look at what it is candidates want since this too is a talent management factor you need to consider.

According to a Hays survey, the number one reason people look for another job is for more challenging or exciting work (61 per cent) followed closely by a lack of career development (60 per cent).

This presents an opportunity for employers to link career development and the provision of new, exciting and challenging tasks with the organisation’s overall goals.

In our survey 68 per cent of employers said they align the career development of their staff with the current and future skills their organisation will need to achieve its goals. But 11 per cent do not, another 11 per cent only do so for their top performers and the final 10 per cent only do so for future leaders.

Yet 80 per cent of employees want – and expect – to be involved in projects that help develop their skills so that they can move into a higher-level role. To develop their career they also expect internal training (69 per cent) and mentorship programmes (66 per cent).

This is positive news since rapid technological change and the digitalisation of the workforce will make upskilling your existing staff even more important if you are to keep up with the rapid rate of change. This includes artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics, which are expected to take over the routine and repetitive functions of a job, leaving staff free to focus on higher-level duties. How this will play out in your organisation should certainly be factored into your talent management strategy.

We hope these tips help you manage, develop, retain and plan talent effectively.

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