In our line of work we see a large number of candidates who cycle back through the recruitment process every 12-24 months. In some cases (for instance, with contracting work) this can be by design, and lucrative for all concerned. However, in many instances it is instead the result of candidates accepting a permanent role at an employer who didn’t fully grasp the concept of ongoing talent management and why it's important.
Now, we appreciate that having a regular stream of qualified candidates might sound a good thing for a recruitment firm like ourselves. However, as a boutique agency, we’ve built our reputation on matching the right candidates and companies for mutually fruitful, long-term partnerships. It does nobody (us included!) any good in the grand scheme of things when a candidate feels misled on the prospects a company can offer; nor when a business feels the candidate came into the role with the wrong outlook from the get-go.
With that in mind, we’ve put together some of our thoughts on the importance of talent management to help you retain those talented new hires. It all starts with understanding the talent management life cycle.
WHAT IS THE TALENT MANAGEMENT LIFE CYCLE?
Image credit: PTC-SD
From deciding you need a new hire, through training and development, right the way through to planning for that person’s eventual replacement, there are six stages to the talent management life cycle:
2. Candidate selection and hiring
4. Training and development
5. Performance management
6. And finally succession planning
While our business is set up to help you with stages one and two, the importance of talent management starts to show as early as stage three. There, the employee begins to get a feel for if the company’s outwardly-portrayed image at interview directly translates to its day-to-day operations.
From there, stages four and especially five lay bare the importance of ongoing talent management. Getting these right is the key to maximising the tenure of your most talented hires, and retaining the people who can take your business to the next level.
CONSIDERATIONS FOR YOUR TALENT MANAGEMENT STRATEGY
Why is ongoing talent management important? Because it helps you retain top talented employees for as long as possible.
But what can you do to make sure this happens? Here, we outline five key questions we think you should ask yourself in forming your talent management strategy – and, crucially, why you should ask them.
1. Where is the potential ceiling for your roles - and can you adapt team structure to raise it?
One major mistake often made by companies (particularly small ones) is to hire someone, onboard them, then simply leave them to it – without considering what happens once they start to master the role.
Employees need things to strive for in order to feel a sense of progress. But if the next logical role above them – often a middle management one – requires significantly different skills that they don’t have any way of acquiring, it creates a ceiling that limits how far they can climb in the company. Inevitably, that leads to them leaving to climb the career ladder somewhere else.
Instead of allowing that to happen, you could consider creating a senior version of their current role and moving them upwards into it. That could allow your employee to mentor those beneath them in the hierarchy, while supporting their line manager by learning the ropes of their job. This not only helps with retaining your talent, but also aids in the succession planning part of the talent management life cycle, too.
2. Can your hires add extra skills beyond their role's core responsibilities?
The suggestion above outlined one way an employee could gain new skills by moving upwards – but they can also expand their skills without a promotion. For example, if you have two junior-to-mid-level team members with different responsibilities, why not swap their responsibilities at least one day a month? This would allow them to move sideways within the same team, expanding their skill set and making them a more attractive candidate for an upwards promotion at some point down the line.
The message here is that whether upwards or sideways, movement of some kind is essential. Making a point of giving that option will convey to your team the importance of talent management for your business.
3. How personal is your talent management process?
Do you truly know your employees’ needs? It might sound startlingly simple, but most companies make assumptions about what their people want, without ever really asking them at one-to-ones. Instead they use those catch-ups to communicate how the employee is doing and what the company wants to see from them. If you’re taking the time to consider ongoing talent management and why it's important, start by encouraging your managers to ask your people what they want from their careers as a whole, rather than just their current role. Don’t be afraid to suggest moves into other departments, either. Sometimes employees may be fearful of mentioning the idea of this to their direct report, but your managers need to take the view that keeping top talent in the wider business is more important than focusing on employee development within their own smaller team.
4. Does your performance review approach need to be more flexible?
In many businesses, performance reviews take place at the same time, right across the business. But what if that window falls at a time where one or more of your team are knee-deep in work that inspires and energises them? Would you really want to add to their stress while simultaneously detracting from their fulfilment? Conversely, what if one team member is fine with business as usual in their day to day while they train for a career change in their spare time? Wouldn’t forcing a performance review centred on their current role just be wasted time and energy for all concerned? Those are just two examples that show the importance of talent management being flexible and adaptable. So, ask what your employees want, then devise a performance review approach that keeps that in mind.
5. Do your people feel rewarded and valued?
Another thing you should ask as part of your personal approach is whether your team feel rewarded for their hard work – and, indeed, exactly what ‘rewarded,’ means to them. Money is always an obvious go-to – which could certainly lead some employers to avoid this conversation outright. But for many employees you might be surprised to find they just want more recognition in the form of more opportunities to do different kinds of work they know they’ll enjoy. The more you allow an employee to make their job their own, the more valued and trusted they’ll feel, and the more the importance of ongoing talent management will be felt by all concerned.
CAN WE HELP YOU FIND YOUR NEXT NEW HIRE OR LONG-TERM ROLE?
At Dynamite Recruitment, we specialise in matching clients and candidates who want the same things and share the same values. So whether you’re a hiring manager or HR professional looking to fill a vacancy, or a candidate seeking your next move, we can help.
Visit our client services or job search pages to see what we can offer, or get in touch to discuss what you’re looking for.
Looking for further tips on recruiting top talent? Read about our new service, Dynamite Training, and call our founder Matt Fox on 02392 455422 to learn how it could help you.