Building the Business Case for a Talent Management Programme

A talent management programme isn’t just about implementing a shiny new ATS or the latest onboarding tool, although of course there are lots of tech tools on the market right now that could assist you, the true success stories we experience as Employer Brand professionals are always centred around true adoption, from the ground up, of whichever particular programme you implement. When a company can truly integrate a talent management framework and strategy into their core process, the more ingrained this process becomes encouraging wider understanding and adoption by it’s employees. The good news for you is that if you don’t have the tech at your disposal, or even the budget to even consider some of the markets better established products then by following these 6 steps you will already be ahead of the majority of your competition.

Talent Management: Organisation

Some are better than others, it drives the organised people crazy when the disorganised rabble fail to update necessary systems & workflows. This is working life the world over and in my own experience starting up two businesses, I also often put organisational process or more importantly transparency of such process to one side. After all, sales and revenue targets needed to be hit otherwise there would be no business, right? No, wrong! From a Talent Management Perspective, it is imperative that not only do you have a well run programme that will drive engagement of your employees to unearth potential new candidates, but that programme needs to be visible, tangible and ideally dynamically driven. By this I mean meaningful input from your workforce, if your business structure allows. For example, an interview process or an appraisal system that is tweaked in accordance with feedback from your guys at the coalface goes a long way in not only ensuring your Talent Management Strategy stays current, but the buy in from your employees is invaluable and extremely powerful, after all this a team effort right?  Dare I say it, one of the most important things I spent time on was the menial Organisation Flowchart. Admittedly, we were only at around 12 people at this stage so why bother – I’m close enough to everyone for them to understand the plan? Well not necessarily and not only was it important to show them structure but the basic flowchart outlined the future, and the future is your people, which is your success. Invest time and money if necessary in pulling together your organisations work chart – this is your blueprint and a very good visual for you and your colleagues to see not only where you are up to, but where you are looking to go and grow. The content is more important than the visual, but there are products like Canva out there that can offer this service for free and you need little or no digital experience.

Talent Management: Technology

Okay so this may sound a little contradictory when considering my opening gambit, but please bear with. TECHNOLOGY DOESN’T HAVE TO COST A FORTUNE – in fact a lot of the time it can be free. The world is now a hotbed of new tech products aimed at making our lives easier, both in work and in play. Yes, for the added extras  a lot of these products will then charge, but the beauty is by then you will know whether it’s worth investing the extra money, LinkedIn is the perfect example. Yes you can buy your professional licenses or marketing suite dollars – but a lot of companies don’t bother and that service remains free. I for the record invest heavily in LinkedIn, but I see the value and the ROI for what we do, it didn’t start off this way. The field of Recruitment & HR is probably one of the largest sectors in which new tech is brought to market every day. Ourselves at JobHoller built a custom made platform that covered everything from an ATS to Social Automation because – well, we could. We had the skills, the investment and worked in a market where we saw where technology could streamline process for our clients. Our platform is free and rises to a token £150 + VAT per month as a ceiling. This is the point, we are an employer brand agency, our money is not going to be made selling licenses for our product, but as an end user our product offers a solution to a lot of employer branding problems, which then hopefully engages us at  a later date to bring our expertise in. I use within my business products like Canva, Trello, HubSpot & Slack which are all still under the free to use license and are used effectively across the business. Please take a look at what’s out there. The support is sometimes not instant under the free subscriptions, but it’s normally within a working day and if your product becomes business critical then an upgrade is only a phonecall away and the criticality normally offsets the tens or hundreds of pounds it ordinarily costs.

Talent Management: Always be Recruiting

A well executed Talent Management Strategy will ensure that your company is ALWAYS recruiting. This is a Recruiter’s motto and one that companies could / should adopt especially given digital sphere that can automate a lot of this for you now. You are not waiting for the resignation notice to land or the sign off from the FD for 10 x Software Developers that comes with a “we need them now…oh, and they would prefer you didn’t use agencies to save costs” attached to it. By correctly positioning your programme to offer an amplification of your brand & requirements you are in essence building up those Talent Pools & networks so you are ready to move ahead of any changing business needs. One of the easiest ways for a company to implement this is to speak to your existing marketing person, team or outsourced agency & get them to start writing content around your employer brand, not just your vacancies. Q&A’s, video snapshots, sound bites – anything other than the advert that shows off your distinctive assets will all of a sudden change your message and start to soften & extend the call for talent to one that operates 24/7 365 days a year. N.b: If you do not have any marketing support, I’m sorry to say, you need some – the good news is that colleges and universities are aware of the skills shortage so every academic year is unearthing more and more great talent across the UK at very competitive salaries.

Talent Management: Strategic Hiring

Start making a noise with those hires that could really make a difference with your Talent Management Programme. Influencers, which most of them prefer not be called but is probably a good term to describe them, can do exactly this. If they are good at what they do, they will be on LinkedIn, potentially Twitter, sometimes Facebook, but almost definitely not receptive to you here. Social Media allows us a degree of transparency, whether you understand marketing or not, you will understand social media on some level. Follow, engage, comment on articles that may be of common interest. If this is out of your comfort zone start with LinkedIn. Some of those marketing blogs or Q&As that you have discussed within your “Always be recruiting” meeting with your marketing team, then post them on LinkedIn. Copy relevant connections in the comments, connect with the right strategic thought leaders. See where they go for meet-ups etc. The strategic hires, the really talented candidates that everyone are after will become engaged with your company by default. The content and digital activity that builds around your employer brand will ensure that you will be permanently on the radar of ANYONE who could potentially be an asset to your company in the future. A Talent Management Programme in 2018 is absolutely reliant upon a uniform and engaging message that permeates the digital landscape around to ensure that whatever your message, it is  received whether directly from Facebook posts regarding your latest charity event or indirectly from one of the lads in the pub who’s heard you guys are recruiting.

Talent Management: Awesome Onboarding!

Attraction and engagement is the easy bit, but if an organised and efficient approach to your onboarding can be achieved, then you are already starting the road to employee advocacy – your next technique to advertise your new role. Just take a look online at some ideas of how to land the candidate, the first day, the first week, month, quarter etc. This part is the most fun as you can really be creative and again get ideas and input from your team and wider staff. The (free) tech available helps build a solid onboarding system which in turn creates a solid Talent Management Programme which can really ensure that vital communication is not lost between yourselves and your next superstars.  Once you have the best employees, you need to keep them, by using the same power of engagement you will be able track performance reviews, goals, skills and career aspirations to make sure your employees are happy and moving to the same place at the same speed as you want or need them to.

Talent Management: Employee Development

Employee Development will exist within your company, some opportunities are greater than others, but it will exist in some format, in fact it HAS TO for a Talent Management Programme to be of any interest. SHOUT ABOUT IT! It needs to form the heart of your operation ensuring that all relevant parties will have full access and visibility on, well absolutely everything. “What is on offer? What is achievable? What does this mean? What do I have to do to become a Senior?” If you can get ALL of your employees to be able to answer ALL of the career development questions that are probably standard interview questions then you are on the right side of winning. Employee development will generate the front line of engagement when looking to back-fill positions, for example due to promotion or just via the story that is being told from within your organisation across all the Social platforms.

In 6 small steps you can get your Talent Management Programme defined and up and running using all of the existing collateral around you. The Tech side can look a little daunting but reach out to your connections on LinkedIn and ask then what they are using, what works & I guess most importantly doesn’t break the budget from day one – and of course feel free to call us at JobHoller, we would be delighted to help.

Author: Martin Blythe – Director

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