In today’s knowledge economy, talent is every company’s key competitive advantage. For your business to effectively compete and thrive, you need an effective talent strategy that aligns with your business objectives.
Without a talent strategy, hiring is reactive, and staff might be brought on to fill immediate needs without consideration for culture fit and no plan on how they can develop and grow.
A lack of a talent strategy can lead to an undifferentiated employer brand that deters candidates, a workplace that’s more focused on transactional work than a positive team-oriented culture, and high turnover. In addition, a talent strategy that neglects analytics is limited in its ability to be a partner in the business.
Because employees touch every aspect of the business, executive buy-in and cross-functional participation are essential to developing a talent strategy that meets where your company is today and leads it into the future.
Here are 7 key components to consider as you look at developing a talent strategy.
1. Business Goals Context
At its core, your company’s talent strategy supports your company’s business goals. Look at where your company expects to be 2-5 years from now, and consider what will be needed from your employees to help you get there.
As you do so, consider how your current organizational structure, recruiting process, performance management system, and learning paths can be optimized for meeting business goals while attracting and retaining the talent you’ll need to meet them.
It’s also worthwhile to take into account external factors such as the employment marketplace in your area, the competitive landscape, emerging technology, and workplace trends.
2. Employee Value Proposition
In today’s business environment, good employees have more options on where to work. And the best employees are looking for more than a paycheck; they’re looking for a sense of meaning and purpose. An employee value proposition articulates why employees stay with you. It includes your company’s value, sets the tone for your culture, and indicates to candidates what they can expect from working with you.
An EVP is more than signs on the wall and values listed on your careers page; it needs to be continually reinforced through actions so that it becomes integral to your culture. Most notably, it shows up in how employees are managed.
According to Gallup, managers account for at least 70% of the variance in employee engagement scores. Management training and solid internal communications help organizations make their EVP part of their talent strategy.
3. Employer Branding
Employer branding is how you promote your company as the employer of choice to potential and current employees. It plays a critical role in attracting and recruiting quality candidates. According to research by Linkedin, 75% of job seekers consider an employer’s brand before even applying for a job!
Your careers page does make a difference, and candidates can feel it when what you say matches up with their experience when they arrive on site. Company photos and videos, blog and social media posts, Glassdoor reviews, and press all contribute to your employer brand. When developing your talent strategy, it’s important to know where your brand is today and where you’d like to take it in the future.
Get the free “Essential Guide for Building a Compelling Employer Brand”.
4. Talent Acquisition
A strategic talent acquisition program starts with identifying the top skills, experiences, and traits of who you want to hire, and writing job descriptions that articulate those skills, experiences, and traits and encourage qualified candidates to apply. It also includes a strategic approach in how to find candidates through sourcing, internal referrals, job ads, and internal hiring. Building a talent pipeline through sourcing helps companies poised for growth to scale staff when the time is right.
Managing the interview process is also important for a successful talent acquisition program; a structured hiring process with prepared interviewers and consistent feedback capture helps teams select top talent.
No strategic talent acquisition program is complete without an applicant tracking system to track and organize the process. You may also consider leveraging AI (Artificial Intelligence) technology for more efficient job matching and candidate screening.
5. Learning & Development
Continual learning is a necessity in today’s rapidly evolving business environment. Not only that, learning contributes to employee happiness: recent research shows that employees who spend time at work learning are 47% less likely to be stressed, and 39% more likely to feel productive and successful.
According to 2019 Deloitte Human Capital Trends, learning is the biggest challenge for 2019, rated as important or very important by 86% percent of executives.
A strong talent strategy allocates a learning budget, identifies opportunities for learning and development, as well as includes plans for management and leadership development.
6. Performance Management
How employees are managed impacts engagement, and review processes can make or break employee morale. It’s worthwhile to spend the time thinking strategically about performance management and how it can support your organization’s business goals.
Organizations that have switched to a continuous feedback model have reported success. OKRs (Objectives Key Results) is another performance management trend that enables goal setting for employees and has been adopted by Google and other companies. An evaluation of your current system against other programs will help uncover how you can shift your talent strategy toward the most effective performance management practices.
7. Analytics & Reporting
Hiring and people analytics can help your company uncover problem spots as you develop your talent strategy, as well as provide a baseline for measurement going forward. A mix of performance metrics and survey metrics will guide your efforts, keep your talent strategy on track, and give you the ability to refine it as you go. Here are some metrics you should track:
- Source of hire
- Time to fill
- Turnover rate
- Cost per hire
- Candidate experience
- Quality of hires
AI is increasingly being used in people analytics. Just be sure it’s being used ethically in accordance with local laws and creates, not erodes, trust among employees.
A Talent Strategy is a Plan for the Growth of Your Business
A talent strategy puts your employees front and center in the plan to meet your business goals while improving the health of your organization. When you continuously invest in attracting, hiring, developing, and engaging your people at every level, your employees are more likely to stick around and play an important role in driving your business success.
If you or your team needs help with designing and executing a winning talent strategy and process, check out Melita’s Talent Acquisition Solution.