What Is Talent Management? (+Why You Need It for Your HR Strategy)

The job market is more competitive than ever, which means your job as an HR professional needs to evolve in order to keep up with the latest HR trends – and a great talent management strategy could be what helps you edge out the competition.

What is talent management and why is it important?

The concept of talent management is pretty new in the corporate world, and as such, there are still people who aren’t familiar with the concept. So, what is talent management?
A comprehensive talent management strategy is critical for any company that wants to attract and keep the best employees. In order to create a successful talent management program, you need to shake off the old idea that talent management and human resources are two separate functions.

How do talent management and HR work together?

The traditional way of thinking that talent management and HR should be two separate functions is quickly becoming a thing of the past. Instead, you should think of HR as the umbrella that covers all the different facets of human resources management.These four main functions of human resources all come together to form a cohesive human resources strategy. Let’s take a quick look at what daily job functions fall under each of these categories:

Managerial functions


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  • Planning and organizing company programs
  • Directing employees toward the shared company goal
  • Policy formulation and implementation

Operational duties

  • Payroll and benefits
  • PTO and vacation tracking
  • Timesheets

Advisory functions

  • Legal functionalities
  • Resolving employee conflicts
  • Risk management

Talent management

  • Talent acquisition
  • Employee relations
  • Performance management
We’ll spend time in this article looking specifically at talent management and how it folds into the larger HR management strategy. Let's take a closer look into some of the specific aspects of talent management:

Talent acquisition

The first step in creating a holistic approach to talent management is to examine how you’re acquiring and managing your talent. This is a process every company has in place but that many could improve upon.

Interviewing and recruiting

Nothing is more frustrating for a potential employee than to have their interviewing process slowed down by outdated technology and processes. Do you know how long it’s been since your company reviewed its interviewing and recruiting process?
If not, you should take a deep dive into how you’re attempting to attract top talent. You may even consider brushing up on some of the latest hiring recruitment strategies.
If you feel like your recruiting pipeline leaves a little to be desired in the way of technology, you might consider investing in an applicant tracking system software (ATS).

Training and onboarding

Your job isn’t done once you hire top talent – you also need to make sure they get the best training they can. If you haven’t looked at your onboarding strategy in the last couple of years, there’s a chance you’re putting new employees through a boring, outdated process.
Figuring out the best ways to improve your employee onboarding process and creating an onboarding checklist will help create a more enjoyable experience.

Employee relations

Employee relations refers to the efforts your company takes to build and maintain the relationships between employees and their employer. There are several sub-topics that fall under the umbrella of employee relations.

Company culture

It’s a hot topic in the workforce these days, but what exactly is company culture? Think of company culture as the personality of your company. You wouldn’t want to hang out with someone with a bad personality, and employees don’t want to work for a company with a bad company culture.
The tricky thing about company culture is that it can be difficult to pin down. The good news is that you have the best resource for discovering what your company culture is (and how you can improve it) right at your fingertips – your employees.
You can use your regular meetings with employees to talk about things like your company culture. Consider using stay-interviews, one-on-ones with managers, or even employee engagement software to figure out exactly how employees feel about your company.

Employee engagement

The term employee engagement refers to how invested your employees are in your company. Employee engagement is vital to your talent management strategy because unengaged employees are some of the most difficult to work with.
Don’t blame your employees if they’re unengaged – use it as an opportunity to make a positive change. The only mistake you can make is ignoring the signs your employees are giving you and continuing to carry on business as usual when they’ve expressed that it’s not working for them.
If you’re unsure what your employee engagement situation looks like, you may consider administering an employee satisfaction survey to allow your employees the chance to freely express what they like about the company and what can be improved.
Tip: Looking for a new way to engage your employees? Check out these 7 employee engagement ideas that real companies are using.

Employee turnover

If you are seeing a rise in the number of employees leaving your company after a short period of time, you may have a problem with employee turnover that stems directly from your employee relations strategy.
You should also keep a close eye on the trends surrounding employees that leave. Were they all working for the same manager? Or maybe they all came from the same department? If you pay close attention, the problem may reveal itself without much extra work needed.
why do employees quit their jobs
It can seem alarming to watch employees leaving your company faster than you can hire them but this is another golden opportunity to fix what’s broken in your talent management strategy. If you’re not already, start conducting exit-interviews with employees and ask them why they are leaving for another opportunity.
Performance management
As larger numbers of employees seek out jobs that help them hone their leadership skills, it’s important that you help facilitate their growth. It’s unreasonable to expect an employee to stay stagnant while your company grows and flourishes – that’s why offering a clear path for growth is important to talent management.
Tip: Looking to encourage your employees to grow and thrive? Consider creating a career development plan for your top performers.
It’s important to keep in mind that your entire workforce won’t be made of top performers off the bat. You’re likely to have a few employees who struggle in their position. A big part of talent management is learning how to help those employees improve the same way you encourage your top performers. Using a performance improvement plan can help struggling employees improve and grow.

Put the management back into talent management

Talent management isn’t something you can do half-heartedly. It takes strategy, planning, and close monitoring in order to be successful in improving the employee experience. It may seem overwhelming at first, but once you get a handle on implementing talent management into your HR strategy, you’ll be shocked how it improves your office environment.