The business case for talent management

Given the importance of employee retention, the aim of talent management should be to build capacity and capability. Ideally, it is a comprehensive approach that ties to business needs and strategy; however, that doesn't mean the approach can't evolve over the course of several months to meet overall organizational needs. The emphasis is on developing a broad spectrum of talent so that the availability of internal talent will not be a constraint to the organization’s strategic direction.

The outcomes of any talent management system should include:

  • Retaining and developing high-potential associates
  • Building internal staff capabilities (bench strength) for the emerging organizational demands
  • Mapping various succession options
  • Facilitating development and developmental moves across the organization
  • Establishing a professionally managed organization with the systems in place to ensure that it will have effective leaders going forward
  • Ensuring that employees are being developed in order to meet the future needs of the organization

A framework for talent management is outlined below:

The starting point – building the business case

The first step in the talent management process is to establish a business case. Many organizations talk about employees as their most important asset. But they fail to deliver on that promise. Their "people value" is ill defined or their policies and practices don't align with the words. Talent policies and practices do not support the well-intentioned thought that "people are the most important asset at XYZ Company."

Organizations that embrace a talent mindset have a deep conviction that better talent leads to better corporate performance. Policies and practices support that conviction. Talent management is a central part of how they run the company. It is talked about regularly and it is tied to strategy. While HR supports and helps drive people strategies, all managers are held accountable for strengthening the talent pool. Better talent is a critical source of competitive advantage – better talent pulls all the other performance levers.

In establishing the business case, a few questions to consider include:

  • Are our talent strategies aligned with our overall corporate goals and strategies? If not, what corrective action do we need to take?
  • What is the current talent mindset of the organization? How can we strengthen it?
  • What are we currently doing to attract, develop, and retain top talent?
  • Is this enough to meet our talent needs now and into the future?
  • Do we have the right people/the right skills/enough people to drive our growth plans/revenue goals?

A sound business case ties the effort to business strategy, thereby elevating its importance and ensuring ongoing momentum despite roadblocks and obstacles that inevitably crop up.

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