Managing a workforce over time, as organizational needs change, is one of the most difficult jobs handled by HR. Strategic talent management is the process of optimizing recruitment, hiring, and internal development in line with business goals and needs, so that the workforce is always ready to meet those goals.

Although many HR teams don’t implement talent management beyond the basics of acquiring, hiring, and retaining skilled individuals, strategic talent management can offer a great deal of value to organizations.

Identify Organizational Goals

Understanding organizational goals will allow you to understand and recognize the organization’s needs for those periods. Here, it’s especially important to look at expansions, changes in direction, new branches, and growth.

What are drivers and challenges facing these goals? Is the job market very competitive? Could new technology change how work is performed? Is new legislation set to change what your organization does?

Working closely with management will allow you to understand projected growth and direction, so that you can calculate factors such as expected growth, excepted turnover, expected number of jobs becoming irrelevant, and so on.

Identify Talent Gaps

Talent gaps are work-related gaps that prevent you from achieving specific organizational goals. For example, if your organization’s goal is to improve Net Promoter Score by 27% over 2 years, you could gauge gaps relating to customer service quality, how individuals are assigned to clients, and even the personality of individuals in customer service. Similarly, talent gaps can affect future gaps that don’t exist now. If your organization is intended to phase out a major software solution in favor of a new one, you have to take note so you can take action.

Define How HR will Solve These Problems

HR has to define how they will solve goals based on competency frameworks and job profile frameworks. If you know which competencies and skills affect jobs and how, you can train or hire to fill those gaps. For example, with the previous organizational goal of improving the Net Promoter Score, you could then formulate goals like:

  • Implement customer-service training to Customer Service teams
  • Administer follow-up training to persons scoring below 75% proficiency after training
  • Change hiring goals, with a focus on individuals skilled in relationship building

Talent gaps should be validated to ensure you’re actually solving the right problems. This means having a competency framework and job profile framework in place, so you can see which skills contribute where and how, and can hire or train for them to meet needs.

Finally, it’s important to recognize priorities. It doesn’t matter how many goals you set if you don’t have resources or budget to pull them off. Prioritize HR actions based on highest business impact, gain buy-in from management by sharing business results, and follow-up with secondary measures as more budget becomes available.

Measure and Validate Results

Strategic talent management is about validation and long-term results. This means that you have to implement talent management processes for assessment, performance review, ongoing development, competency, job profiling, and so on. These can then be used to improve results, validate that hiring and efforts are on the right track, and will give you something to take to management as proof of process.

Strategic talent management helps HR to ensure that the workforce meets the organization’s goals, now and in the future. While it does involve having a strong understanding of existing workforce, strong solutions in place to measure and monitor results, and a budget, it will help your organization to achieve goals because resources and talent are in place to do so.

About the Author: Jocelyn Pick