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* Original article is from Mara M, HR Consultant / Certified Leadership Trainer & Coach Training Solutions Architect / Accredited Culture Practitioner.

Human resources professionals play a major role in bringing the talent and business strategies together. It’s never been more important to make sure the resources spent on sourcing, engaging, and keeping talent are focused in the right direction.

Here are 8 key steps to building a successful talent management strategy.

1.      ATTRACT TOP TALENT BY TREATING CANDIDATES LIKE CUSTOMERS

You create an outstanding product and back it up with top-notch customer service to attract and retain customers. You’ve got to treat your potential employees the same way. They’re shopping around for the best place to work. What can you offer them?

The candidate experience is a key component of your employer brand and if you fail candidates you fail your brand. Word of mouth is a powerful driver of brand and you need candidates to walk away feeling as though they have been respected and treated professionally at every stage of the process.

In this case even rejected candidates, will be your employer brand ambassadors. A candidate who has had a good experience will tell their friends even if he/she doesn’t get the job. A candidate who has had a bad one will do the same. You might not believe this but even bad candidates have friends and social media accounts.

2. ALIGN YOUR PLANS

Your strategy for talent acquisition and retention should align with your strategy for the company as a whole. What type of workers do you need to keep your company moving forward? What will it take to make sure your employees are prepared to meet your goals? Each employee should have a perfect fit within your company. If talent & business strategies aren’t aligned, you won’t see results. The biggest waste of organizational resources, both in terms of time and money, is hiring the wrong employees, according to a survey conducted by Harvard Business Review (HBR). The logic makes sense.

When organizations hire the wrong individuals:

-Managers spend more time monitoring and correcting poor performance (versus coaching and recognizing good performance).

-The company can lose their recruiting, onboarding, training, and development investment.

-The operation has to cover for lost productivity, both during the time that the employee is working for the company and while HR is looking for their replacement.

Essentially, when companies hire the wrong employees, they must shift resources from moving forward to making sure nothing goes wrong. It’s that shift from being proactive to reactive that hurts performance and the bottom-line.

3. PROVIDE CLEAR EXPECTATIONS, JOB REQUIREMENTS AND GOALS

Employees need to know what’s expected of them, and they need to have something to work toward. Once employees are hired, they need to understand performance expectations and set relevant goals. An employee’s goals should be congruent with their department and the company. As an employee accomplishes their goals, the organization moves closer to achieving their strategy.

Overlooked, inaccurate, and outdated job descriptions can have a negative effect on working environments. For example, a Gallup survey found that 20 percent of workers left their jobs because they felt there was a lack of “fit” between them and their roles. Job descriptions need to be “live documents,” subject to regular review. They should also give your people a sense of purpose and fire up their passion for their work, by explaining how important their roles are to achieving your organization’s aims.

4. MEASURE PROGRESS

Not every role within the company can be measured the same way. What does success look like for each role? Schedule regular evaluations, so the employee is clear on how she’s doing and how she can work to improve. Employees need regular, specific, timely feedback to perform well. Organizations with a culture that supports performance coaching realize 13 percent stronger business results, according to Bersin by Deloitte.

5. BUILD ENGAGEMENT

When employees are fully engaged and immersed in their work, they can achieve astounding results. eam commitment to organizational goals can spread like wildfire, thrusting your business forward with a shared drive to achieve. Unfortunately, recent studies have shown that 71% of workers consider themselves unengaged or uninspired at work. If employees are apathetic, dissatisfied with management, or disengaged with their daily duties, an organization is in peril. Without a desire for excellence, employees can’t contribute to the team’s collaborative efforts, causing stagnation that can destroy a business from the inside. Managers create the environment that can spur engagement, improve performance, and elicit the power of employees working together for a common goal. 

6. OFFER FAIR COMPENSATION AND REWARDS

If someone is doing the same work for more money at another company, your employee’s morale and motivation is going to drop. Competitive compensation includes not only the salary, but also benefits such as health and wellness packages, time off, child care, the opportunity to work from home, and more. Even simple perks, like a weekly catered breakfast, help employees feel valued. Smart employers know that keeping quality employees requires providing the right compensation and benefits package. Happy employees are productive employees.

7. PROVIDE AN OUTLET FOR EMPLOYEES TO SHARE CONCERNS

If an employee is dissatisfied but feels he has no way to correct the problem, he’ll probably bottle it up until the day he quits. When employees have a way to express concerns and can trust the management to work to correct the problem, they have an alternative to quitting and some control over crafting their ideal working environment. Collecting employee feedback is a necessary process, and one that can yield great insights and lead to brilliant changes that can improve overall company effectiveness and performance.

8. CREATE A PATH FOR ADVANCEMENT AND IMPROVEMENT

When employees stagnate in their positions, they’re likely to look for new jobs. Options for advancement and continued education keep employees learning and engaged as they advance their careers with your organization.

Part of the reason for the lack of advancement opportunities at many companies is the fact that the definition of professional advancement differs from employee to employee, making it particularly difficult to address the needs of everyone. To some individuals, career advancement means reaching a top position at a particular company; for others, it could mean gaining experience in multiple professional fields in order to create a unique and versatile role for oneself. Still other ideas of career advancement include an entrepreneur’s dreams of success, an author’s hopes for publication, and a developer’s desire to acquire more complex technical capabilities while on-the-job.

Despite peoples’ varied definitions of career advancement, there are nevertheless aspects of the workplace that management at any company can address in order to increase their employees’ advancement opportunities, engagement and loyalty. Essential components of an effective career advancement plan: expanding employees’ skills sets, giving them additional responsibilities that lead to an evolution or a changing of their roles, acknowledging accomplishments through raises and promotions, and offering a tailored career advancement plan for each employee that aligns with his or her professional goals.

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