Talent Management Strategies: 7 Smart Ways to Improve Performance
Talent management is rarely the first solution companies think of to improve business outcomes. However, talent management should be the default first step for making a measurable impact on business KPIs. Few other approaches can boast as much impact for the minimal amount spent.
To improve business outcomes using talent management, you’ll need two things. The first is the right strategies for your org and people. The second is the right data so you can plan your approach and monitor for success.
In this article, we break down the best talent management strategies we’ve encountered and we’ll explain which metrics to monitor. We also share an example of how effective talent management can be when implemented intelligently.
What is talent management?
Talent management is implementing initiatives that improve the employee experience, give employees more time to concentrate on their work and make it easier for employees to perform in their roles. The ultimate goal of talent management is to improve employee performance and retention.
Talent management is distinct from other strategies for increasing business outcomes in that talent management strategies typically do not require adding tools or additional work infrastructure.
Talent management strategies focus on helping employees manage their time, increasing employee retention, and ensuring that employees are placed in roles where they perform their best.
Why talent management matters
At Praisidio, we’ve found again and again that—done well—talent management has a material impact on business outcomes because employees with high engagement, performance, and tenure know how to make a direct and measurable impact on business KPIs.
Engaged, experienced employees reduce client issues in large financial firms, resolve customer issues faster for tech companies, or boost sales performance for service-based companies. Using talent management strategies to retain more high performers and maximize their productivity is the best way to improve KPIs.
For instance, this graph of data collected by the Praisidio platform shows a direct correlation between talent management strategies and an increase in resolved tickets.
The thing that makes good talent management such a high-value activity is that talent management strategies are remarkably low-cost. As we alluded to above, most talent management strategies require no additional work tools or systems, and no additional training to improve business outcomes.
At Praisidio, we commonly find that the talent management strategies our software recommends bring about savings far in excess of the cost of the software itself. This is testament to the incredible return on investment talent management strategies can have.
Talent management strategies
Getting the best results requires taking a focused approach to talent management. Broadly implementing better talent management in your organization may marginally improve business outcomes, but it’s much more efficient to target employees who get the most benefit from talent management resources and make the most impact on KPIs.
This requires understanding which talent management strategies are available and using all the data you have to choose the right approach.
Choosing the right strategy is easiest if you have real-time data analysis to see the core signals of talent management deficiencies and talent management outcomes side-by-side. That way you can connect specific talent management strategies to business outcomes, then modify and improve strategies on the fly.
This last step of using data to connect talent management strategies to business outcomes is one of the most critical steps in implementing talent management. Without this data-driven connection, you must rely on lagging indicators such as surveys to assess the effectiveness of your talent management.
This causes delayed adjustments, and your company could be suffering employee attrition and impaired business outcomes while you’re collecting the information you need to adjust your talent management strategies.
Start with data collection and analysis, then implement your talent management strategies.
1. Start with leadership
Talent management starts at the top. Senior leadership and above should demonstrate what well-managed talent looks like.
If company leadership is allowed to get away with bad behavior or doesn’t follow the talent management strategies, it establishes a pattern that can percolate throughout the entire company. It can derail all your talent management efforts if organizational leadership sets an example that is contrary to the strategies you’ve implemented.
Ensure there are no conflicting messages from leadership and make it easy for mid-level managers and supervisors to put talent management strategies by first managing the talent at the top of your organization.
2. Give balanced, realistic workloads
Employee burnout is a significant source of employee attrition and reduced productivity. Even worse, burnout usually hits key contributors first, because companies tend to lean too heavily on their top performers.
Use consistent data collection and analysis to track employee workloads and observe behavioral metrics that predict employee burnout, such as increases in out-of-office days or work absences. Then proactively redistribute projects and balance workloads to protect your most valuable employees from burnout.
3. Introduce maker time
It’s incredibly important that employees have time to focus on their work. Even a reasonable workload can feel overwhelming if an employee’s schedule is overburdened with meetings or they have little uninterrupted time to dive deep into their projects.
Establish protected hours each day where employees are guaranteed there will be no meetings or interruptions from managers or supervisors. This makes daily schedules more predictable and more productive because employees have time to get work done and they know when that time will be.
On average, Praisidio customers recapture 100 FTEs of productivity for every 1000 employees by strategically introducing maker time for the right employees.
4. Build connected teams
Feeling disconnected from the organization decreases engagement and collaboration. Fostering the personal and professional relationships that form a company prevents feelings of isolation and creates a culture of belonging at work.
Help create better social connections with team-building activities or a few minutes of dedicated social time during meetings. Informal catch-ups, skip-level 1:1 meetings, and direct manager meetings also increase employee connections. These meetings can also be tracked as data points and used as metrics for your connection-building efforts.
5. Open growth pathways
Career stagnation is a big motivation and engagement killer. Lack of growth opportunities also leaves people in positions where they may not perform their best.
Managers should sit down with employees to map out plans for employees to move into new roles and take on new responsibilities within the company. It prevents employees from feeling stagnant in their careers, and the communication between managers and employees enables your company to place employees in roles they want.
Additionally, your company should support these growth pathways by getting feedback from employees and offering learning opportunities that will benefit employees in their current and future positions.
This strategy reduces employee attrition and optimizes performance from your most motivated employees who put in the effort to move up within the organization.
6. Eliminate pay gaps
Companies understand that they need to offer competitive salaries to attract and retain employees. Unfortunately, many companies don’t take a data-driven approach to evaluating employee salaries, relying instead on historical averages or traditional ideas of what certain positions are typically paid.
It’s far more precise and fair to your employees to track industry salaries and compare salaries within your company to get an accurate picture of how fairly your employees are being paid relative to the market and relative to their peers.
Use HR metrics such as compa-ratio and position in range to proactively adjust wages, if necessary. Also, consider how much of a pay increase employees would be able to negotiate if they moved to another company and match that salary when employees are promoted to higher positions.
7. Recognize achievements
The best strategy for giving recognition is to create policies that help build the habit of giving recognition for any job well done.
Require managers to publicly recognize one employee during every meeting. Create dedicated Slack channels for giving kudos or monthly rewards.
Recognition is important, but it’s even more important to create recognition programs that create a culture of giving praise. If people are accustomed to recognizing each other for a job well done, they’ll start doing it even when it’s not required by company policy.
The one gotcha with praise is to make sure that it’s evenly distributed. Be sure to keep track of who hasn’t received praise while their colleagues have. When used unevenly, praise can actually drive down performance.
Data-driven talent management is key to achieving business outcomes
Talent management is the foundation of business success. Your employees are your company, and the strength of your talent management determines how well your workforce utilizes all your other business infrastructure.
The absolute best way to build this talent management foundation is with real-time insights into your company. Fortunately, most companies already collect the data required to get these insights. You just need the right analytics tools.
Praisidio analyzes your existing internal data to spot performance risks across your entire organization, connect talent management strategies to key business outcomes, and make informed changes that immediately impact KPIs and revenue generation.
Companies that use Praisidio typically reduce costs from talent management problems by as much as $10 million for every 2000 employees.
Book a demo to see how much Praisidio can improve your business outcomes through better talent management.