Josh Bersin, an HR industry analyst, remarked in a Forbes article that the talent management software market has grown by double digits because "companies have now realized that 'talent optimization' is key to their business success.
In IT and other technical disciplines, the competition for outside talent has been especially fierce. In part, this has been a driver for talent management software that can scout the marketplace, connect with potential job applicants, and develop conversations with applicants through social media-style interactions.
But for managers, the talent management issue isn't only in employment recruiting. It also extends into how well you know the capabilities that are resident within your own staff and throughout the company. This makes it imperative for IT managers to work hand-in-hand with HR and other company areas so that these four objectives are met:
- you're competitive in the open market for new talent;
- you develop skills in your existing staff for positions you need to fill;
- your staff retention and motivation are high; and
- you develop a roadmap for positions that you think you will need to staff in the future.
Here are some ways to accomplish those things:
Competing for new talent
Connecting and not just communicating with job applicants through social media can differentiate your company from the competition, and many talent management software solutions such as Halogen, Cornerstone, Workable, ClearCompany offer social media-style interactions that enable a company to build a relationship with prospective employees during the recruitment process. "The most important point here is social sharing about your industry's latest news/topics and not just about your company," said Rassul Fazela, director of recruiting at Nvent, a big data talent acquisition firm, in a blog post. "Posting 'I'm hiring' as the only means of social sharing, is NOT social recruiting. Posts need to have more substance."
Developing staff talent
Companies with active talent management programs evaluate how much managers develop new staff skills. These corporate talent management programs also use software that enables both managers and employees to enter their skills into a talent database. This online database enables managers throughout the company to query the database whenever they staff new projects. In some cases, an employee might have a skillset that you're not aware of. In other cases, an employee might demonstrate an aptitude for a particular position that you need to fill. Understanding the talent base of your staff by referencing online employee skills databases or by observing special aptitudes that employees demonstrate during projects, and then putting these skills to work in the right places, will benefit both you and your staff.
Retaining and motivating staff
When you lose an employee in a mid-range salary position, your cost to replace can be 20% of that employee's annual salary. For highly paid positions, that cost can be up to 213% of annual salary. These figures don't begin to account for lost time on projects, or the impact to the morale of your staff when a valuable and well-liked co-worker leaves. In short, employee retention is important, and ensuring your staff feels valued and motivated is the best way to retain talent. How do companies retain talent? By keeping employees engaged in new and challenging projects, by helping employees develop new skills, and by staying connected with them. Employees also respond favorably when they are recognized for their efforts, and given new promotional opportunities and salary increases.
Developing a roadmap for future positions
CIOs and IT managers need to be looking ahead. If your company is planning to enter the IoT space or use drones within the next two years, you should be creating a plan that develops internal employees to support these new technologies, or plan recruitment strategies for outside personnel. Here are a few tips for doing this:
- Start by identifying the business applications and the timeframes for these applications that will utilize the new technology.
- Then identify the staff skillsets that you will require to build and to support this technology. By reviewing your on-staff skills against these new requirement, you will be able to see if you have employees on hand who can develop and support the new technology.
- Once you identify any holes in skills that you will need to fill, you'll be able to chart the time that will be needed to either recruit new talent or to retrain staff in order to be ready to start projects when they are scheduled.
- Once you have all of these items identified, you can plot them into a roadmap with a timeline that will tell you exactly when you need to start your talent development.
The U.S. job market is nearing full employment capacity. As it does so, companies are beginning to raid each other for top talent at a time when 41% of companies lack formal employee retention strategies, according to a recent study by the ADP Research Institute and The Economist Intelligence Unit. In this same study, 76% of respondents said that they will do more to find internal opportunities for employees to prevent job-hopping, with 72% saying they will invest significantly in improving their culture, working environment, training and benefits to retain staff. For these reasons alone, managers need to be as cognizant of their talent management as they are of work schedules and deadlines.
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Mary E. Shacklett is president of Transworld Data, a technology research and market development firm. Prior to founding the company, Mary was Senior Vice President of Marketing and Technology at TCCU, Inc., a financial services firm; Vice President of Product Research and Software Development for Summit Information Systems, a computer software company; and Vice President of Strategic Planning and Technology at FSI International, a multinational manufacturing company in the semiconductor industry. Mary is a keynote speaker and has more than 1,000 articles, research studies, and technology publications in print.