What is Talent Management?

  • April 02, 2019

Talent Management, as defined by Wikipedia, is “the anticipation of required human capital for an organization and the planning to meet those needs.” That sounds a lot like what Human Resources does in an organization. But understanding the nuances between these two functions is imperative to better understanding your employees and meeting their needs on the job.

Human Resources departments are kind of like the overarching umbrella that houses individuals that are in control of Talent Management. Talent Management is about aligning strategies that relate to the hiring, training and retention of human capital.

Oftentimes when looking into software for your organization, you will find that HR software will sometimes branch into the talent management space - think things like Applicant Tracking Systems, Performance Management, Onboarding, Learning Management Systems, and Certification Tracking, but oftentimes there are portions that are overlooked in the software that would specifically speak to the Talent Management portion of the business.

Human Resources looks at employees as a resource that needs to be managed. Think payroll, time off, policies and rules - whereas Talent Management looks at employees as assets that need to be nurtured and developed to provide a return for the organization in terms of the bottom line (most frequently). However, a company needs both. Organizations that just have HR departments without any focus on Talent Management can often struggle with poor retention, poor training, and little growth. It’s not normal for a company to be without an HR department, but it’s all too common to find a company that has little to no focus on Talent Management.


Team working together to build a talent management system


Ultimately, the purpose of Talent Management is to help retain and improve top-performing individuals (really great talent management strategies, can also help motivate and improve the lower-performing individuals, as well).

Let’s take a look at some of the strategies that companies invest in while focusing on the Talent Management portion of their business:

  1. Learning and Development: educating employees is important for any organization. From first educating them on best practices in their role, to understanding the company culture, and continuing education for growth - all of these aspects are central to creating a learning and development strategy that focuses on improving performance and increasing retention.

  2. Performance Management: Developing an iterative process for giving and receiving feedback as it relates to on-the-job performance is an important aspect of a talent management strategy. Creating an evaluation system that outlines job responsibilities, goals and KPIs for which an employee will be compared against increase motivation, transparency, and sets that expectations up front - which ultimately sets the employee up for success.

  3. Engagement: This is more of a measurement, but engaged employees typically are more motivated, have better performance, and stick around longer than unengaged employees. Figuring out what your organization’s culture looks like and using it to further engage employees is a great talent management strategy.

  4. Talent Pipeline: sometimes referred to as succession planning. Creating a funnel for top-talent to fill positions as they become available is an important strategy in talent management. Setting expectations surrounding when to expect promotions and training employees for jobs that will be available in the future is a good way to help employees feel validated and continue to strive for improvement.

Talent Management can be an important strategy to invest in for your organization. Whether you decide to pursue the use of software to help embrace these practices, or build out strategies and practices using other methods - it’s important to consider the impact it could have on your business. In most organizations, the people (employees) are the best asset, talent management is a holistic way to embrace the people that you have and help to create a more engaging, motivated workforce that chooses to stick around your organization.

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