Talent Management : 10 Strategies HR Managers & Business Owners Can Use

Being an HR personnel is tough. One of the duties that make the role a challenging one is talent management.

Businesswoman and founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics, Mary Kay Ash said “a company is only as good as the people it keeps.” The late American entrepreneur and bestselling author understood the power of proper people management. I believe that is the main reason the Mary Kay brand grew phenomenally. Talent management is therefore a very crucial practice every HR personnel or businessperson must master.

Successful HR Managers are always looking for ways to create a culture that can foster continuous talent management practices. These 10 strategies will help you to be on top of your game if this is your desire too.

Talent Management Strategies

1. Foster Trust

I have worked with over 100 HR Managers so far. Most of them have almost the same challenge – people do not like them within the organization. You must therefore have a strategy for fostering trust between you and the talents in the organization. If you dont make this work, the other strategic areas discussed in this article will not be as effective as they should be. But be careful not to mistake trust for being liked. People do not have to like you but it is important for them to trust you. According to Michael Benoliel and Linda Cashdan in their book, Done Deal, there are two kinds of trust – retrospective and prospective. The former has to do with people trusting you because of what you did in the past. Prospective on the other hand is someone trusting you in anticipation that you will keep your end of an agreement. As an HR practitioner and business owner, you must ensure you can get your staff to trust you in both ways. When you say a thing, stick to it. Don’t be harsh all the time. Pursue due process but not selectively. Foster trust!

2. Knowlegde of candidates

People are unique. Even identical twins are also different. It is expedient therefore to have a proper knowledge and understanding of all your staff. And do not trust your mind to keep all records about them. The mind can be very fickle. And since bad experiences can best be remembered by the mind of the average person, you will see the bad in every person and that is not good for talent management to be effective. If you therefore do not deliberately decide to find a way of knowing your staff, you will end up knowing them for the wrong reasons. So what is the solution? Keep a journal of all the good experiences you have had for each person and use them as often as possible. For example, instead of saying “Do not mess up this deal the way you did the Jones deal the other day”, you can say something like “I like the way you handled Smith & Sons 2 years ago. I expect same results as that one.” The staff will be motivated that you have positive knowledge of them.

3. Proper understanding, constant adjustment and communication of job roles and descriptions

As the talent manager, you must have a proper understanding of the job descriptions of your workers. If you are not the one who authored it, you may have difficulty interpreting it, especially when it is (as in most cases) written in difficult to comprehend grammer by some consulting firm that want to impress. You should also obtain permission from management to edit or adjust it whenever necessary. If you cannot obtain that kind of permission, then discuss the job description with the staff every time you have opportunity to. Let them write them down in their own terms. This will curb the complaints many staff like making that certain tasks are not part of their job description. For technical job descriptions, the front line manager can be of help to you. In fact each front line manager should do this periedically

4. Training and development

Budgets are getting tighter by the day. Therefore, many companies seem not to lay emphasis on learning and development anymore. But talent management is incomplete without continuous training. Many staffs, especially when they are not fresh graduates, often congregate from various firms with different backgrounds and experiences; trying to influence the way things are done in your own company in order to align it to the ideologies of their past employers. This is usually because that is what they are used to and they are not willing to change. You must not allow that! They must align themselves with the ideologies, objectives, values of your own company. This can be most achieved through training. That means you must work with the trainer or coach to ensure that no matter what topic they are speaking on, they are still able to communicate the values of your firm in such a way that the staffs willingly accepts them and make them theirs.

5. Goal driven engagement

In the quest to ensure that employees are well engaged at work, many business owners and HR personnel have suceeded in making work more boring than it should be. This they have done by ensuring that the employees always have tasks. So, instead of having a collective goal that everyone can contribute to accomplishing, they end up coming up with mere activities just to ensure that the staffs are not idle. That is a bad model for employee engagement. The best model for employee engagement is not task driven. It is goal driven. Therefore work with line managers to always communicate the big picture and how staff can be properly aligned to realize that their “little” contributions makes a whole lot of difference. You must make the manager realize that goal driven engagement is far superior to task driven engagement. Imagine a manager who has something to achieve for the organization and gathers his staff together to discuss it. Everyone on the team contributes to the planning process and nomination/assignment of tasks is then done based on competencies. Imagine what that team will accomplish in a short time. Much!

6. Less complicated reporting systems

One of the ways you can carry out proper talent management in this century is to remove complications from the day to day running of your business. If the process of writing and submitting a report is a cumbersome one in your organization, you need to find ways to simplify the process. This will help your staff that spend less time dwelling on the “past” and concentrating on future projects. One should be able to create and submit a report using a template or checklist. Find a way of creating such a template for various tasks/projects.

7. Non traceable opinion poll of employees

Ensuring that employees are able to air their views concerning matters that affect themselves, their job and the organization will greatly help every business person to effectively carry out talent management. This will contribute immensely to the success of the firm. One way to do this is to create a system of getting opinions from staff in such a way that it will not be traceble to them. In that way, the employee can come forward with information without the fear of being victimized.

8. Constant improvement on work spaces

The physical working environment of an organization can determine if its employees will deliver results as at when due or not. Therefore, it is expedient to keep updating the work spaces on a regular basis. Merely adding a coat of another colour of paint on just a wall of the office can greatly affect employee focus, enthusiasm levels and ultimately, productivity. If you cannot make this happen regularly, employees should have the liberty to leave the main office area to work in meeting rooms, conference rooms, on the balconies, in the garden and so on. In fact it should be encouraged.

9. Proper and prompt conflict management

One of the most dangerous time bombs in the workplace is unresolved conflict. Professional talent management requires expert conflict management. If any issue comes up between/amongst your staff members, it is important to bring them together and deal with the issue if you can. If the parties involved are seniour management staff who do not report to you, there are ways to handle the conflict. One of the ways is to bring in someone they both respect to mediate. You will need to study a little of conflict management to know what approach to take per time. If there is labour unionism in your organization, it is important to properly and promptly resolve issues between union and management. This is to keep things from going out of hand. Internal bickering can destroy an organization faster than external ploy. Deal with it and do it quickly whenever it starts

10. Creating a strategy for proper rumour management

Speculations and assumptions will always generate rumours. The best way to ensure that deadly rumours are not passed around in the organization is to ensure clarity at all times. Whenever you sense a rumour that can go out of hand, release an internal memo that debunks it. This is so important because people begin to unconsciously accept a lie as truth after telling it many times. Your talent management game must be up to avoid such. A seemingly harmless rumour can escalate to become a very serious problem if not handled well. For example, if there is a rumour that the boss is having a romantic affair with a staff, speak with the staff and the boss separately. Let the boss know that you need to release an internal memo to debunk the rumour. After that, the boss must end the relationship if it exists. Otherwise they should become very discreet about it. Of course ending it is the best option.

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Hopefully, you have enjoyed reading this as I have enjoyed writing it. Kindly leave a comment below. Thank you.