While smaller companies can sometimes manage the employee life-cycle without any strict guidelines in place, there is no denying that a robust talent management strategy can seriously transform the way a company attracts, nurtures and retains talent. Whether you are looking to revamp your current talent management strategy or shape the structure around yours for the very first time, there are certain key steps that you should be looking at.

Here are 8 key talent management strategy steps:

Employer Brand Awareness

Talent attraction can begin well before you are even aware of it, so the first step you want to be looking at is your external employer brand presence and overall social footprint for your brand. You might catch the eye of an interested candidate from a Facebook post, or find that a candidate drops onto your careers page after your company comes up in a Google search. The point is that the information candidates see at this very first touch-point can make or break whether they feel they would like to work for you, so it is important to populate your careers site and social profiles with authentic and relevant content. A few key things to consider:

  1. Ensure information is up to date, if you haven’t posted on social media for months then a candidate may become suspicious as to why
  2. Use plenty of photos and videos to give a real insight into your working environment, your people and your culture
  3. Highlight your EVP (employee value proposition) and employee perks – basically shout about exactly why someone would want to work for you
  4. Use content that features your employees – stories about employee journeys and Q&A’s with the team will help give a better understanding of your employer brand

Candidate Attraction

Once your employer brand awareness is ticking away nicely in the background, it gives you a great base to then employ the “candidate attraction” phase of your talent management strategy. This is what you will need to start whenever a hiring requirement or live vacancy arises in your organisation, and depending on your recruitment needs it might be something that you focus on 365 days a year (with a talent pool or speculative application function). A few things to consider here:

  1. Make sure your vacancies are listed clearly on your careers site, and consider adding a talent pool function so that people can register their interest when a live role isn’t showing
  2. Write clear and concise job descriptions that give a real insight into the role but that also sell the reasons why a candidate would want to work for you
  3. Be clear about key information such as salary, working hours, location, and required experience
  4. Promote your vacancies outside of your careers site through job boards, social adverts and recruitment agencies

Candidate Management for your Talent Management Strategy

This is the stage where you are receiving traffic from applications and candidates who are interested in working for you, and you need to ensure they are managed efficiently. In some instances you can be dealing with extremely high volume of CV’s, and often you might be managing applications for multiple vacancies across lots of locations. If this sounds like you then an applicant tracking system is essential to keep on top of your candidates, but most importantly ensure that your internal recruitment team are well equipped to handle the level of candidates without the candidate experience faltering. Key things to consider if you are using an applicant tracking system for candidate management:

  1. Aim to respond to every application you receive within 1 business day – even if it is to politely tell them they haven’t made the cut
  2. The same applies to feedback – keep in touch with candidates throughout the process to avoid losing them to a competitor
  3. Collaborate with hiring managers and set deadlines internally for things like “reviewing CV’s” and “booking interviews” to avoid unnecessary delays
  4. Use automated emails that can still be personalised to make parts of the process like “emailing an interview confirmation” quick and easy
  5. Never forget the power of the phone, if you only correspond with candidates over email then you may lose some of that personal touch that is key to making a candidate want to join your company

Onboarding New People

Another crucial step in the talent management strategy is all about welcoming your new employees to the company. The majority of companies who experience problems with retention do so within the first few weeks of an employee joining, and this could often be resolved with a better onboarding experience. It’s simple, is an employee going to settle in well to your environment and culture, are they going to have a positive training experience, will they feel supported or thrown in at the deep end, will they get on with their new colleagues? These are all factors that can have a big impact on if someone stays or leaves, so you need to add some structure around it. Make sure you check up on new employees to see how they are bedding in, and even consider using a feedback platform so that employees can anonymously report any concerns that they may not feel comfortable enough to do face-to-face with a manager.

Training & Development

If you want to retain great employees you will need to offer some form of progression, therefore a key area of the talent management strategy centres around training and development. It is essential that you are able to offer training (external or internal) to help your employees develop within their current role, and it will only benefit you by making them better at their job so do not be afraid to stump up the investment here. One way that companies can retain great people for the long term is to outline a clear employee roadmap that gives total transparency as to how employees can potentially develop with their career in your organisation.

Employee Engagement

As well as training and development, general employee engagement should also be part of your talent management strategy. If an employee is happy and engaged in their job role they are often more productive and more likely to stay at that company for longer. The problem is when you have a lot of employees at your organisation you cannot always keep on top of your engagement levels and if you’re not careful, problems can arise that cause your employees to disengage from their job and decide to leave. Here are a few things to consider when looking at employee engagement:

  1. Your working environment, company culture, management style and employee perks are all huge drivers of employee engagement
  2. While reviewing what could be improved make sure you also consider the opinions of your employees and gauge their perceptions through regular surveys
  3. Exit interviews can provide invaluable information to increase engagement, if you can discover what is the main cause for people leaving it can allow you to correct it by changing something within the organisation
  4. As well as conducting surveys, consider offering a more informal feedback service so that you can be aware of any employee pain-points as they occur

Employee Advocacy

Advocacy is a stage of the talent management strategy that is so often overlooked, but it can make a big difference to candidate attraction when executed well. Encouraging your employees to share content online that showcases what your company does, and more importantly why it is a good place to work helps increase your social reach and it also really increases your brand trust. If you want to include employee advocacy in your talent management strategy, then here are a few things to consider:

  1. Instead of being afraid of letting employees loose on social media, think of it as taking more control and encouraging your happy and engaged employees to share positive content about your company
  2. Consider encouraging different demographics to share specific posts so that the messaging is more targeted (e.g. your IT team to share a blog that shows “A Day in the Life of a Developer”)
  3. Encourage engagement through gamification or an incentive for the most engaged employee
  4. Use a unique hashtag such as #LifeAtCompanyName so you can pull all your posts together in one place and track the amount of social shares 

Employee Exit

The last stage of your talent management strategy we want to touch upon is the employee exit. In some instances the exit is a result of retirement, or relocation beyond your control. In others you might be losing people who decided to take a job elsewhere because they offered something that you didn’t. Either way you will want to follow the peak end rule of psychology and try to end the experience on a high. Parting ways on a positive note encourages advocacy and reduces the chances of negative word of mouth or poor reviews being left on sites such as Glassdoor. You’ll also want to make sure you can learn from each experience to avoid future employees leaving as well.

So they are just 8 of the steps you should consider using for your talent management strategy, however it is also worth noting that not every company is the same and therefore you may need to tweak and shape this accordingly to suit you. To learn more about talent management check out some of our other blogs here.

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