Monday 23rd June 2019

A Growth Partners’ Guide to Talent Management


A business is only as good as its employees, therefore bringing the best people possible into a company and keeping them there can be the difference between success and failure.


“You gotta build a team that is so talented, they almost make you uncomfortable.”
– Brian Chesky, CEO of AirBnB


Talent management is the way in which a business captures, applies and develops employee skills and abilities. A good talent management strategy can prove to be an important competitive advantage in a crowded market and what’s key: the process begins before an employee even steps foot in the door and is essentially never-ending. Although HR has an obvious role to play in managing a company’s talent pool, it is the responsibility of the entire business to create an environment in which talent is drawn in and retained.


Why is talent management important?

Talent management is one of the most talked about topics in the current business landscape, this is because of the record levels of employment that the UK is currently seeing, with the unemployment rate sitting at around 3.8%.

Combine this with the skills shortages that some industries are seeing, for example a recent Open University study found that many organisations in the UK (91%) struggled to find workers with the right skills over the past 12 months. With talent in short supply, companies have a big incentive to create a quality talent management strategy.




Drawing talented people to your business is the first step on the way to a great talent management strategy. The most important thing to know when looking at attracting top talent is what you’re looking for in the first place – do you need employees with specific or general skills? This will determine where to focus your efforts.

If you are in an industry that requires very specific skills, for example engineering, then turning your attention towards educational institutions that specialise in providing learning and training for your industry will be beneficial. With the right positioning, you could create an external conveyor belt of new talent ready to fill vacancies. For example, being involved with organisations such as the National Centre for Universities and Business (NCUB) could help you achieve this.


Attracting talent with more general skills is inherently easier, as you will naturally have a bigger pool of candidates to choose from. However, this shouldn’t stop you from drawing up a list of specific transferable skills that you feel suite both the role you are recruiting for as well as the wider business. Knowing what you are looking for will, of course, help you find it.

But, one important thing to remember is that the recruitment process is a 2-way street, in much the same way that potential employees are looking to impress, your business should be trying to do the same. Through branding, reputation and employee advocacy, any business should be aiming to create a public image which draws in talented individuals. Being viewed as a “top place to work” is the goal. Achieving that is hard, but maintaining it is even more of a challenge.




Attracting the best talent is all well and good, but if you don’t utilise that talent to its full capacity then your efforts will have been wasted. After investing time and resource into the recruitment process, businesses can’t afford be wasteful. A 2014 study by BambooHR, an HR technology firm, indicated that 1 in 6 new employees quit within the first 90 days of starting a job, and a third of those said the company provided minimal or no on-boarding.


The speed and effectiveness of the on-boarding process will dramatically impact how well talent is utilised, and therefore how quickly you will see a return on investment in the recruitment process. This is particularly important when you are recruiting people in the early stages of their career, who perhaps don’t have the experience to be able to jump into a job at the deep end and swim straight away. Implementing systems, such as handover periods, induction days and training buddies, that give the new employee the opportunity to learn the job in a supportive environment can help to increase the effectiveness of the on-boarding process. Thereby, allowing them to add value to your business more quickly. Furthermore, providing new starters with learning and development opportunities will not only help them to bed into their new role faster, but it also gives your business the opportunity to grow and develop. The more skills employees have, the more opportunity the employer will have to utilise them. Whether that’s in upgrading old processes or developing new ones, it will give you the chance to gain a real edge over the competition.


For more experienced recruits, engaging them into the business as early as possible is the key to utilising their talents. Socialising them into the company’s culture, getting them familiar with the ethos and the brand message, will all help to embed them as soon as possible and allow them to do impactful work. Naturally, socialising an experienced recruit will take longer than a candidate with less experience, as they already have a wealth of pro-conceived ideas, stereotypes and set procedures. Therefore, strong branding and culture is important, to break down old ideas and set a new base from which to work. Socialising, and creating engagement, will also help when it comes to retaining talent.

Despite the differences that new recruits may have in their backgrounds and experience, effective performance management is always needed for strong talent management. Tracking employee progress from the very moment they enter the business will allow you to tailor their development process, making it as effective as possible. It will also provide you with the information you need to determine whether your talent management strategy is performing as it should, and if it isn’t then it can be changed.


Getting new employees up to speed as quickly as possible not only benefits the business, helping to produce a ROI faster, but it also benefits the employee. After the initial buzz of joining a new business and learning a new role, employees can quickly become frustrated at not being able to operate at the best of their ability. This can be caused by an ineffective on-boarding process and can have big impacts upon the retention rate of employees.




Once your business has attracted and utilised the best talent, creating positive results for both the employer and the employee, retention is the next step.


Reward is an obvious factor here. It is important to make sure talented people are properly compensated for their efforts, not only in monetary terms but also intangibly. Offering added benefits that help to bolster employee health, well-being and financial security should be used alongside a fair salary in order to keep the best employees focused on doing the best work they can for your business. Recent studies have found that 60% of potential employees strongly consider the extra perks and benefits contained in the compensation package before accepting a job offer.

Recognition is also important; every employee likes to be recognised for the good work that they do. Without it, talented employees can become frustrated, leading to reduced engagement and eventually could be a possible cause for them to move on. In fact, 36% of employees feel that a lack of recognition is one of the main reasons why they would consider switching jobs. Whilst recognition doesn’t always have to be public facing, managers should be aware of dishing out a healthy mix of praise and constructive criticism.


Another important part of retaining talent is maintain their engagement in the business, this can be done in several ways. Perhaps the easiest and most effective is through goal setting – at both a personal and organisational level. Having overarching company goals can be used to create a close-nit culture that employees buy into, sharing these goals and the success that comes with achieving them promotes the idea of a business being a team and therefore can produce a sense of loyalty amongst its members.

For employees in the early stages of their careers, being provided with the resources and opportunities to navigate the organisational chart is a key part of the retention aspect of talent management strategy.  However, in some cases, business do have to accept that eventually employees will move on. The age of the lifetime career is over, and a multi-stage career is becoming the norm for most workers.


When retention of talent just isn’t feasible, or even possible, your business will need a good exit strategy. This links back to the attraction aspect of talent management. A good understanding of employee’s career aspirations and goals, as well as a polite and helpful exit strategy, helps employees to leave the business as advocates rather than enemies.



Growth Partners’ Services

Overall, talent management is a crucial aspect of any business. It can impact upon all areas, including brand image, productivity and growth as well as the longevity of an organisation in general. At the core of any business is the people and managing them correctly in every sense is what generates success.

At Growth Partners, we provide businesses with the SMART Employment model. Through this model, we can support admin-heavy tasks such as Payroll, Pensions, HR and other business tasks. This support is also combined with a comprehensive employee benefits package, and employee well-being support. SMART Employment can save your business time and resources, as well as providing tools and services, that your business can use to help to form an exceptional talent management strategy.


To find out more about how Growth Partners can help you grow your business, call 0116 340 3116 or request a demo here.