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Thanks to poor Talent Management practices big companies are winning the war for talent, and small SME’s are losing it.  

Difficult economic times, skills shortages, stiffer competition and an aging workforce is beginning to change the world of recruitment. The talent pool is shrinking, forcing companies to compete more aggressively for those key people who can push a organisation forward. It is now much harder to find and retain those individuals who have the potential to bring success. This is especially true for Small to Mid-Sized enterprises who employ less than 250 people.

However, all is not lost. One way for businesses not to miss out and to stay ahead in this unequal fight for the best staff is to have a well integrated Talent Management system. It can be an important survival tool that helps them to even out the odds, especially in a fast changing and knowledge-based job seeker led market environment like todays.

The good news is that many Hiring Managers are beginning to recognise this, and talent management is becoming an increasingly important topic for them. The bad news is that for many HR people the definition of Talent Management can be elusive, with different recruitment professionals having a differing understanding of its meaning.

So, what exactly is it?
Well, at its core Talent Management is a set of integrated organisational processes designed to find, develop and retain employees. Its ultimate goal is to create high performing members of staff who will help a company meet its operational and strategic goals. The key components of it are hiring, training, then and retaining top-performing employees.

Whilst every major company has a version of it, many smaller ones do not. Essentially, talent management implementation greatly depends upon the size of a company. As we shall see there are a number of reasons for this.

Large organisations have the advantage of experience, bigger budgets, well established HR departments and existing talent management practices. Whereas, smaller setups have less money to spend and a lack of specialized expertise as well as fewer resources, time or knowledge to set up and run Talent Management processes. They will more often than not see the whole thing as an unnecessary expense rather than a long term investment.

This is wrong, as if done right it can bring many benefits. It can not only attract the most capable people, but also motivate existing employee to perform better and become more loyal and committed to their employer. Additionally, it can increase the knowledge pool and reduce absenteeism and workforce turnover. Furthermore, it can assist in identifying those staff who show the most potential, the top performers who are ready for future leadership roles.

It must also be remembered that once the job market improves and more vacancies become available, many employees will inevitably be tempted to migrate to the more attractive salary and benefit packages offered by larger employers. An effective Talent Management policy can help reduce the chances of this happening.

So why focus on talent?
Human capital is one the few natural resources that a company has. If staff are managed properly, they will almost certainly benefit the bottom line. This is why the most successful and admired companies put a lot of time and effort into it. They know it will help them to attract star performers, reduce recruitment costs, and make their training budgets go further. There is a critical link between talent and performance.

Implementing a successful Talent Management system
Establishing a talent management strategy, and then executing it, is difficult, but ultimately worth it. Although it may not achieve the nirvana of perfectly integrated HR processes and systems, it will go a long way towards getting things right and reducing risks when making hiring and firing decisions. Below are the key points needed to drive a talent management process throughout an organization.

1. Employee Value Propositions
This is a set of unique benefits that an employee will receive when they join a company. Define the essence of your company, list the rewards and incentives that you can offer rather than salary alone, in order to attract and retain top performers. Smaller companies have the advantage of being flexible, allowing them to cater to individual needs. It is crucial to make your EVP unique, relevant, and compelling, so that it stands out from the competition. Through surveys and exit interviews, find out: Why are potential employees attracted to the company?

> Why do existing employees think the company?
>What potential employees want from a job and company like yours?
>With this data put together a EVP that matches their needs, requirements and wants.

2. Attracting, acquiring and securing talent through your brand
Show your company as a good place to work by getting your reputation known out there. If employees have a good impression of your company and see it as a positive place, they are more likely to apply and less likely to switch jobs. Find creative and relevant ways to communicate it to the people you are trying to attract. Many SME’s do this primarily through social media channels and their website. A word of warning though, be truthful and do not overdo it. Creating high or false expectations and then not meeting them, can demotivate new employees and lead them to quickly leaving.

3. Employee experience
This must be positive, and ideally an employee should enjoy their work, or at the very least not hate it. Additionally, try to make them understand the businesses objectives and their part in helping to achieve them.

4. Workforce planning
List in detail your companies HR priorities and goals and the skills and people needed to achieve them. Your aim is to identify skills shortages in key staff and then plan to address them. Additionally, develop an inventory of your existing talent management processes and decide how to improve them.

Having a strategic talent management plan is vital to finding the right individuals with ease and speed. Those who implement the best talent management processes will be more prepared than their competitors for the recruitment challenges that lie ahead.

Iejaz Uddin – Founder and CEO  – Dayjob.com

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