Grow your own with a talent plan

We are living through times of great change as the world of business becomes more complex and competitive every day.

Trade is becoming progressively globalised and organisations are working with external suppliers, partners and customers around the world as never before. Tech-savvy new players are disrupting established markets by introducing innovative new business models with increased regularity. Growing numbers of workers are affected by legislative and regulatory compliance issues, ranging from finance to health and safety.

This situation is creating a gap between what skills employers have available to them and what they need to remain competitive. In turn, this is leading to a war for talent and resulting in unfilled vacancies across nearly all sectors.

Too many employers waste time and money recruiting new staff rather than developing their own

Therefore, in order to prosper it is vital that employers learn to adapt. They also need to support and prepare their workers to do the same so they can meet the current and future requirements of the business effectively. This is where the art and science of talent management comes in.

Talent management is about identifying the strategic and tactical requirements of the business in people terms, and linking them to the organisation’s long-term future goals and opportunities. The aim here is to ensure they align in order to benefit both the organisation and individual employees too.

For business leaders, adopting this kind of approach is fundamental to success because their workers are nothing short of critical to the prosperity and success of the company. It is people who are at the heart of the business and people who will achieve those essential business objectives. So talent management needs to be at the centre of everything you do.

The problem is that too many employers waste time and money recruiting new staff rather than developing their own. This kind of recruitment is counterproductive. It causes frustration among existing employees who could have done the role just as effectively as a new recruit if they had been given training and a bit of encouragement.

So they become unhappy and are more likely to leave, creating an endless cycle of staff turnover followed by recruitment to fill gaps. But too few staff leaving the organisation may not be a positive thing either. The danger is that if people stay put for too long, they can become stuck in their ways. But this situation stifles innovation and holds back long-term growth.

While talent management applications help organisations collect and organise their people data, to use this data effectively, it is necessary to adopt a strategic approach to analysing and reporting on it.

This does not mean working with tactical information, such as how many courses each employee has completed, for example. Instead it means focusing on how the company’s people development plan is helping to achieve business goals.

Doing this will enable organisations to understand what skills are required to meet both their short and long-term business aims. It will also help them evaluate ways to fill any gaps, ideally by identifying and developing suitable internal candidates.

FEATUREChris Bond, president and chief executive of Bluewater, emphasises the need to develop a talent plan based on the business strategy, linking talent management to business objectives

Chris Bond, president and chief executive of Bluewater, emphasises the need to develop a talent plan based on the business strategy, linking talent management to business objectives

To get it right requires creating a talent plan based on the business strategy, which will link key areas of talent management such as recruitment, performance management, and learning and development to business objectives.

Strategic consultants like Bluewater, with offices in the United States and Europe, help businesses map what their current and future skills needs are likely to be and what training will be required to help employees achieve company goals. This process involves measuring performance against individual competencies, which are linked to the real requirements of different jobs and roles.

Your talent plan will, of course, need to be reviewed regularly and updated as business objectives change. Having it in place will make it easier to come up with key metrics to analyse your people data and understand what elements of your strategy are working or not working, and where any gaps lie.

Working with learning and talent management consultants that have a track record of delivering real results with global clients will help you find a clear way forward, no matter how confused you are in these turbulent times.

Bluewater believes you need very practical but sustainable tools and methodologies to close the talent gap, “because licenses don’t solve business problems”. A tech-first approach will not help solve your organisational challenges. Rather, the secret to success is to have the confidence gained from partnering with consultants such as Bluewater.

An experienced consultancy, such as Bluewater, will support you through every stage of your journey from formulating a sound talent strategy to ensuring its successful implementation and the ongoing mapping of skills development to changing business goals. It’s “the promise of learning and talent management, fully realised”.

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