What is talent management? 

Talent management describes the ways in which a business attracts, develops and makes the most of their people.

As part of that goal, talent management – sometimes referred to as staff management – is about keeping staff happy, engaged and motivated so they don’t walk away.

With the right talent management strategy, employers can improve staff retention rather than staying stuck in a never-ending recruitment cycle, at the mercy of a competitive job market.

HR team discussing talent management strategies

How can a talent management strategy be used to retain valuable staff?

Effective talent management helps you keep hold of your most valuable business resource: your people.

A talent management strategy can include:

  • Performance management – support staff with positive goal setting and provide opportunities to acquire new skills and knowledge
  • Facilitate feedback – encourage a culture where staff feel comfortable voicing their concerns, questions, ambitions or ideas
  • Workplace strategies – provide initiatives to improve morale such as diverse employee benefits, competitive compensation, flexible working or access to wellbeing initiatives
how to retain top talent in a modern workforce guide thumbnail image

Featured Guide 

Talent Management for HR: How to retain top talent in a modern workforce 

In this free HR handbook, we explore the impact of talent management – and how you can use it to keep your valuable employees on board.

The guide covers topics like:

  • How retention affects recruitment
  • What today’s workplace trends tell us about talent management
  • HR strategies to retain top talent
  • Talent management software recommendations

Is retention more important than recruitment?

Every business needs to prioritise recruitment sometimes, especially during periods of rapid growth.

However, once the onboarding frenzy fades, you need to retain those new and existing people. If unsatisfied employees keep handing in their notice, you can fall into an expensive cycle of recruitment.

By investing in the staff you already employ, you avoid creating a revolving door of people.

HR manager meeting with an employee

Talent management tips (inspired by real workplace trends!) 

Retention is a hot topic – we need only look at some of the workplace trends circulating on social media to see why. All of these trends shed light on which talent management initiatives the people want to see more of.

  • The 4-day workweek

    You’ve probably heard about the 4-day workweek; a set-up that claims to boost productivity while providing staff with a permanent three-day weekend.

    While a recent UK trial in which 70 organisations took part seemed to yield positive results, digging a little deeper reveals an interesting insight.

    It’s not necessarily the 4-day working week that staff are responding to – it’s the fact their employers are prioritising flexible working. While a 4-day week might suit one staff member, another might benefit from working compressed hours or using a flexi-time system.

    Find out what your staff want and, if possible, provide a range of flexible solutions to suit their needs.

    Read about the 4-day workweek

  • Leadership crisis fallout

    Strong leadership is critical to business survival, but a recent study revealed that only 38% of employees are interested in stepping into people manager roles.

    As more people prioritise work-life balance, the idea of climbing the ladder – and taking on more responsibility and stress – loses its appeal. The good news is that businesses can use their talent management strategy to turn this trend around.

    By providing better working conditions, redefining the traditional workplace hierarchy and offering the right training, businesses can create their own home-grown leaders.

    Are we on the brink of a leadership crisis?

  • Quiet quitting

    This trend first started making the rounds on the social media video app TikTok before becoming an international talking point.

    Quiet quitting occurs when an employee decides to do the bare minimum within their role. But what sorts of reasons do people have for quiet quitting?

    • Burnout due to unmanageable workloads
    • Hard work isn’t recognised or compensated
    • Promotions are promised but never acted on

    By examining the motivations behind quiet quitting, businesses can identify how to prevent it. A good start is resisting the urge to blame the individual – speak to staff, find out what’s going on and take action to respond to their needs.

    Read the full blog

  • Workcations

    Taking a ‘workcation’ is when an employee logs onto work remotely from somewhere that isn’t their home or registered office. They could be on holiday or ‘working from home’ at someone else’s house.

    Some consider this to be the natural evolution of remote working. A recent study revealed 65% of respondents plan to extend a leisure trip into a work one by logging on from a remote location.

    While this trend might concern some employers, it can be an opportunity to provide your people with what they want. If you trust your staff to work from home, perhaps there’s scope to discuss trialling a “work from anywhere” approach.

    What employers need to know about workcations

  • Recruitment love bombing

    Love bombing is a type of behaviour that occurs when someone showers another person with attention or promises at the start of a relationship in order to manipulate them.

    While it’s typically associated with the dating world, love bombing has breached containment and is now a worrying trend in recruitment.

    As businesses desperately try to fill empty vacancies, applicants are showered with promises – from career progression to juicy bonuses – only to find it was all talk once the contracts are signed.

    The lesson here is that employers need to make good on their recruitment promises. Otherwise, you’ll end up in endless recruitment purgatory.

    What employers can learn from love bombing

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Learn more about talent management, recruitment and retention with these Frequently Asked Questions.

You don’t necessarily need a talent management process or strategy to employ people successfully.

But chances are, if you employ people, you already have one.

All businesses have a talent management process – it’s just a matter of understanding how yours works and optimising it to improve results.

Talent management is, essentially, how you go about managing and developing your staff.

There are two key business benefits to this:

  1. You ensure your staff have the right skills and are in the right roles. This maximises your workforce’s productivity, allows you to get the most out of your people and helps support the success of your business.
  1. When you invest in your staff and their development, you’re going to have a happier, more motivated workforce. That means they’re less likely to be tempted into working for a competitor, even for a bigger pay cheque, and you don’t have to invest in as many costly recruitment cycles.

Usually, talent management is overseen and implemented by a business’ human resources (HR) department, or by whoever is responsible for people development.

A talent management strategy can also be informed and reinforced by wider leadership, e.g. team managers can provide invaluable insight into what their people may be asking for from the business.

But when it comes to developing and supporting staff, an HR specialist within the business is best placed to handle it.

A talent acquisition manager is responsible for attracting, recruiting and – in some cases – onboarding new talent into a business.

Part of their role may involve:

  • Proactively headhunting potential candidates
  • Guiding candidates through the recruitment process
  • Overseeing the onboarding process, e.g. managing salary negotiation

A talent acquisition manager will typically focus on recruiting staff, rather than on retaining them once they’re in the business.

For the most part, staff management and talent management mean the same thing. The words “staff” and “talent” are often used interchangeably to describe the people employed by a business.

In some cases, staff management is used to specifically describe how a business organises its workforce; particularly in how employees are deployed across teams to boost productivity.

However, the term “talent management” invites you to focus on the value of the individual. It suggests to employers they need to nurture and support their talent to get the best from them.

Succession planning is when employers identify potential leaders within the business and invest in their development, so they’re ready to step into leadership roles as and when they become vacant.

For employers, succession planning has many benefits:

  • Reduced reliance on rushed, high-stakes recruitment
  • A proven track-record of promoting from within (which helps attract future talent)
  • The employee benefits from the development, meaning they’re more motivated and committed to the business

Learn more about the talent management process

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