Talent Management: A Different Approach to HR

Talent management Shutterstock

Talent management is becoming a top priority for many HR departments and organisations as of late. In fact, it’s seen by many as the future of human resource strategies as it accommodates recruitment, employee management and engagement. Understanding what it is and how it can be leveraged can increase chances of building a high-performing workplace and add value to your company.


What Is Talent Management?

Talent management is an approach to HR that allows organisations to actively focus on hiring, engaging and developing individuals who can contribute to the company’s growth. In essence, this means that company needs are assessed and professionals who can help with organisational goals are not only sought after but steps are also taken to ensure retention and development.

It is closely associated with talent acquisition because they are both necessary in order to strategically hire and engage employees. The latter has more to do with hiring, recruiting and on-boarding, whereas the former has to do with the overall process of identifying and making the most of quality candidates and employees.

What Makes it Different to Other HR Strategies?

What makes talent management different to traditional HR practices is that it’s a very proactive strategy. Business plans, missions and goals are scrutinised in order to understand what the company’s needs will be in the future. So, rather than looking at what can be done best about each vacancy, TM essentially tries to envision what future needs there will be. Of course, that doesn’t simply refer to future recruiting needs; it also means taking steps to help train and further the knowledge of current staff, as well as put retention strategies into place to ensure employee loyalty.


The reason why so many companies are adopting talent management is because it’s been proven to be very effective. Of course, as all strategies focus on employee engagement, TM does not come cheap. Hiring and actively developing staff requires funds, but it does pay off.

It Builds a High-Performance Workplace

According to research conducted by the CIPD, employees under official TM schemes are much more engaged in the workplace, which basically means that they are also more loyal and more high-performing. It is, therefore, obvious that TM schemes can help build a high-performing workplace which translates to teams who are driven and are, thus, able to generate creative and innovative ideas which, in turn, are necessary for company growth.

Of course, in order for that to be achieved, companies need to attract talented professionals. Talent in this context does not just mean going after candidates who are experienced or who have commendable academic qualifications, but rather it means looking under the surface and targeting people who are driven and passionate about their field. Essentially, hiring talent is about hiring people who are driven and passionate enough to embrace growth and development and help boost organisational performance.

It Boosts Employer Brand

One of the many problems companies have is that they are unable to attract individuals who possess the characteristics mentioned above. As the labour market is highly competitive, attracting the right individuals is not always easy. Especially because most organisations offer the same things, compensation and benefit-wise, and although it’s always advisable to tweak your perks and respond to workforce needs (eg: flexible work-schedules, remote working, etc), the truth is that having a great employer brand in place will always help you win points.

Essentially, your employer brand is what and how you are known for as an employer. A strong employer brand attracts talent, whereas a weak one can result in turnover. This means that by investing in the company’s brand, you are basically ensuring that talent will want to come and work for you. An official talent management scheme proves that you take employer brand seriously and that you are investing in your people.


Building a Talent Management Strategy

Implementing a talent management strategy is necessary if you are interested in achieving employee satisfaction and helping the organisation meet its goals. It’s important to note that an effective TM strategy will need time, so understand that if you are following this approach, you can’t rush things.

Ideally, your strategy should be organisation-wide and, needless to say, it needs to be tailored to your corporate strategy. This means that taking into account the company’s mission and values is essential.

There are essentially two approaches which you can adopt if you are considering implementing a TM strategy:

  • Inclusive: Includes all employees and can help achieve results faster.
  • Exclusive: Only includes high-performing individuals and has often be reported to further enhance engagement by those selected, while negative effects on the non-selected are minimal.


  • Be Proactive: Rather than waiting for someone to leave and create a gap in the company, it’s important to be proactive and train people so that whenever someone leaves, there’s always someone in line to replace them.
  • Identify Essential Skills: It’s important for all employees to share skills on key industry-related areas. Invest in developing those skills to minimise costs but to also make transitional changes in the company smoother.
  • Ask for Feedback: Don’t hesitate to ask for feedback from high-performing employees about anything that relates to acquisition, development and engagement. Remember that TM strives to create a unified whole and asking for feedback means promoting company interests. Ask for tips when you’re writing a job description or when you are selecting a new development area, and you’ll be able to deliver much more focused results.
  • Align TM with Company Goals: This can help proactive decision-making and it can also uncover areas that need further skills development. Consult with partners, managers, etc to learn more about the company’s mission. Make sure that internal and external trends that can affect business are included in your TM plan.
  • Engage Employees through Goal Alignment: To develop an effective strategy, you need to include people in the hows and whys. Employees need to feel part of the bigger whole and they need to be able to understand why each decision is taken. Remember that employee ownership has been proven to increase performance levels.
  • Train Managers: Managerial level employees need to be trained in order to help promote talent management values. Help them understand that participants are valuable to the entire company (not just to their department) and need to be supported and valued.
  • Start with an Exclusive Focus to Minimise Costs: A structured selection of participants can increase the value of the programme and boost employee motivation. Remember, however, that the exclusive approach (selecting high-performing individuals only) should be short-term.


Talent Management System

As with most HR functions, data is essential to strategic TM. Traditional HR management software programmes usually focus on staff administration such as payroll and employee hours. Talent management systems, on the other hand, focus on providing strategic assistance in achieving long-term goals.  As such, they address what is often referred to as the four pillars of TM: recruitment, development and growth, compensation management and performance management.

Essentially, what they do is help keep track of each employee’s progress in the organisation, starting from the day they are hired to the day they leave. The data provided can be very valuable, both for the HR department and the employees themselves as they can help them identify areas of weakness, etc.

Talent management systems are related to Applicant Tracking Systems and they can either stand alone or come as a suite of products.


Understanding how to leverage talent management can boost workplace performance, so it’s important to start developing a strategy that will allow each employee to develop and become valuable within the organisation.

Do you think talent management is necessary? Let me know in the comments section below.