7 Big Basics of Talent Management

Talent Management for Everybody

Talent Management remains a paradigm for the dedicated HR professional.

Pulled in some 75 other directions, you always—still—need to keep your best people in place. In some real, revolving door industries, they’re going to walk sooner or later, and keeping more of them, longer, makes its own kind of sense.

But in lots of other, truly competitive industries, the smart good people are simply too vital to doing business to keep losing them.

Whether you’re an old hand or a newby, keep these seven vital points in mind for keeping your vital people in place.

1 – Transparency

Lots of the articles we publish here include some kind of appeal for workplace transparency. While workplace transparency really can’t be overemphasized, it’s still a long term goal and not something that can get implemented and rolled out like a new software platform. But a lack of open, ongoing communication between any organization and its constituent members, employees, talent, etc. is always a recipe for failure. If you’re not a front organization, laundering money for organized crime, then there is no good excuse for increasing your transparency. If you don’t work towards more transparency then you will be perceived as a a front organization, laundering money for organized crime —by at least some of your people. There are simply those two choices. Perception really is everything.

2 – C-Suite Support

Hopefully this doesn’t mean a room filled with cigar-smoke behind a battered back-alley door. But it should mean some careful consideration of exactly how you are regularly presenting the steps of your plan. You’re not meeting with the mafia, even if it sometimes seems that way. Forget the way HR people talk and focus on performance goals, specific talents and numbers. Starting out might mean everything is about the cost of turnover and continually training new hires. Strategy and deliverable results depend on the numbers you can get your hands on, so get them and understand them.

3 – Results

Results should be clearly understood before you go into the C-Suite – or you start banging on that steel door from the alley. Understanding clearly what, exactly, the business is gaining is vital. It needs to be clearly connected with the strategy you’re proposing. This is where fooz-ball tables and pizza parties really fall flat. Forget about them. Everything else, below, is about strategy, so implementation, documenting costs and benefits and a realistic time frame for implementing strategy are the results you’re suggesting here.

4 – Ongoing Feedback

This should be an automated, big, and essential part of your strategy. It’s also, frequently, a thrill for your star talent. Believe it or not. Performance reviews are ok, but they’re often too infrequent, too formal and too threatening. From this point on, HR is a facilitator of conversations between juniors and seniors about how BOTH are doing. There are enough tools available that you can, and should, make these things automatic, ongoing and continual. And don’t fake the fun. Star performers can call your bluff, and they will.

5 – Put Culture on the Table

There’s not enough space here to really elaborate “workplace culture.” It’s a big, soft word and most of what HR and coaching and talent people say about it is wrong. But put it on the table. Again, if you’re not a mafia-front, then it’s already a real thing. Think about it. Think about what kind of people you have, what they like and what they do. Remember, some tremendous part of culture is also “aspirational” —funny enough, just like your best people.

6 – Stars!  (not Talents)

As you should know, performance is everything. Talent may very well be something that neither you nor even an immediate supervisor really understands. How’s your Django? PostgreSQL+? PostGIS / Mysql? Forget about it. Those are individual skills. Are they working for the supervisor? Are they in-line with the department level goals? Discussions start with the team leaders. These early discussions revolve around performance. How to recognize it, encourage it and how to identify those who perform. The attributes of those star performers—and even some attributes not directly connected with performance—are what we’re looking at.

7 – Include the (Entire) Future

 In your communications, in your conversations and in your strategy.

Counter-intuitive though it may seem, looking at where your employees WANT TO GO is as important as looking at where they are. And continually focusing on where we’re at is just not what star performers are going to want to do. Career ladders, opportunities and networking communities are all part of managing the best people. They’re also part of turning lackluster performers into stars. Don’t neglect the aspirations of anyone you’re interested in keeping in your organization.

If there’s an essential we really left out, just point it out in the comments section below.

Photo this page:                     

Esperales © Creative Commons Lic. by Don Genaro on Flickr

Karin Jakovljevic

About the author

Karin Jakovljevic

Karin Jakovljevic is the head of marketing at Ximble, a powerful, cloud-based workforce management system, simplifying employee scheduling and time tracking for retailers, restaurants and small businesses.

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