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Developing a talent strategy: 5 tips for success

The CIPD defines talent management as a process that seeks “to attract, identify, develop, engage, retain and deploy individuals who are considered particularly valuable to an organisation.”

The current state of the UK talent market is making the lives of recruiters and hiring managers more challenging than ever before – especially in deeply affected industries such as logistics, hospitality and health care.

Many industries have sorely felt the impact of Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic, but as businesses seek a return to pre-pandemic levels of operation, record numbers of vacancies continue to go unfilled.

What’s more, a dip in business throughout the pandemic has led many organisations to slash recruitment budgets and look for new ways to help bridge any gaps in talent and support when attracting new talent into 2022 and beyond.

As HR leaders look to the future of their workforce, many are reimagining their talent management strategies to drive resilience and build value. In this article, we take a look at 5 top tips for developing a talent strategy for the future of work to ensure success.

Effective succession planning

For any talent management strategy to be truly effective, there needs to a foundation of succession planning in place. As the C-suite reels from its highest turnover levels in over 20 years, five out of six HR managers continue to be dissatisfied with the results of their leadership development programs.

It is key that every business has a pool of trained workers to draw upon when leaders and other key employees step down or move on to pastures new. These individuals are ready to fill key roles and hit the ground running. As part of your planning, these successors should ideally have been developed over time to meet the job role’s criteria and key competencies for the position.

With comprehensive succession planning in place, many businesses will find themselves well-placed to foster a talent-oriented culture that actively recruits and develops skilled workers and top talent.

Identifying talent requirements

The first step of any successful talent strategy requires a deep understanding of your organisation’s overall goals. Whether revenue growth, new product development, global expansion or something else entirely – the talent your business needs to achieve these goals will vary greatly depending on what you’re aiming to achieve.

For many businesses, these goals will lend themselves to specialisms in certain areas. For revenue growth, you may look to prioritise sales and marketing whereas in product development, you may look for skilled R&D managers or Quality Assurance specialists; whatever your goals, it is key that these strategic priorities are reflected in your talent plans.

Identify your skill gaps

Similarly, the goals of your business will directly impact the skills you’re looking for in your new employees, as well as the ones you want to develop in your existing workforce. Once your goals have been agreed and the roles required to reach these goals, it is important to document an inventory of skills needed for each role to be successful.

You can cross-reference these with the skills that suitable employees have already and carry out a skills-gap analysis in order to identify where your workforce’s skills are currently lacking. This gap will showcase the distance between current employees’ level of talent or competencies and where you need them to be in order to meet your goals.

Investment in learning and development

Effective, ongoing learning and development is a critical part of successful talent management strategies. As technology, abilities and roles evolve, so too should the skills of your employees. And yet, 1 in 10 employees in the UK have never received any formal workplace training from their employers.

Continued learning and development allows employees and leaders to be prepared for future responsibilities and to unlock the new opportunities that advancing their knowledge and skill-set provides.

Investment in L&D may fall in line with your succession planning strategy or individuals may be developed to gain the key skills required within your business in order to reach its objectives.

Failing to invest in L&D will only stand to widen any skill gaps further. As talent pools shrink, it is critical that leaders invest in internal talent and up- or re-skill them in order for your company to thrive.

 Tracking and evaluation

Often, people are the biggest expense for a business so it is critical that HR and leadership teams have a deep understanding of the effectiveness of the existing processes your company uses to attract, develop, retain and engage employees with the necessary skills and aptitude to meet the business’ current and future needs.

Some Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) you may choose to calculate and track include employee retention, turnover, satisfaction, performance, L&D spend, time to hire or absenteeism. The KPIs that you choose to calculate and monitor will vary depending on the goals and setup of your business but it is important to have hard evidence to refer to in order to continually improve.

Using key insights into your workforce can help your leadership team to inform decisions and monitor trends in your workforce. These trends in your data will help you to track the performance of your talent management strategy over time, make adjustments, evaluate impact and deliver and mobilise the most suitable talent for your business to achieve its goals.

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Natural HR

About Natural HR

Natural HR is a cloud-based HR software company for growing businesses with 100+ employees. Since launching in 2010, we’ve been building a comprehensive suite of HR functionality that equips the small to medium-sized enterprise with everything needed to build an effective and efficient HR operation.