Organizations often approach us to support a leadership search or create equitable hiring practices to diversify staff. This is great for organizations to be a true reflection of society. However, hiring the right leader who is aligned with a role and vision is a fraction of an organization's success. The most critical component of an organization's sustainability is having a talent management plan invested in their team's success to support identified goals connected to the vision.
Quick survey: Have you ever started a new position and the company did not supply IT equipment on your first day? Were you onboarded with limited direction about goals, key performance metrics, resources, or bonus structures? Did you need to navigate work culture nuances without general insight to inform your networking decisions that impacted your performance? Did you start a position and noticed team skill or capacity gaps that would affect your work?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, what perception did you have about that organization, and did you feel supported to do your work?
This message is not about shaming a person or organization, as we've sat on both sides of the table leading and supporting initiatives. As an organization scales, navigates change management, or rebuilds its infrastructure, the above experiences may occur as we shift priorities and test things out. But it's reflecting, owning, and learning from these experiences to redefine your 'why', standards, and practices that embody your North Star for employee experiences to propel the work and vision, which informs practices to hire and retain talent. Having an entrepreneurial spirit and effectively navigating ambiguity is a desired competency for leaders. But, supporting that person through their process to acclimate to the organization is the blueprint for success. The blueprint is a talent management plan that evolves with the people and organization.
So, what should this plan include? Of course, there are internal details to assess and prioritize between the organization's life cycle, talent makeup, priorities, and why they are growing. Once an internal scan is analyzed, below are the initial top 4 components of a talent management plan:
Clearly define roles and how they support the collective mission. Outlining expertise, beliefs, and expectations for each position that supports a specific goal clarifies accountability, performance indicators, and their contribution to the organization's collective success. It also identifies risks, opportunities, and investments related to people that are essential for organizational growth.
Invest in talent development. From entry-level to chief role, creating an internal career trajectory with development, management coaching, and resources for career readiness (knowledge and capacity) increases employee commitment and advocacy for the organization. Like any relationship, investment should be reciprocal for it to be beneficial for both parties. We both give and get…salary and health benefits are the baseline for what the organization provides for talent performance.
Establish healthy workplace behaviors that embrace diversity. The work environment we create for collaboration is rooted in our communication and behaviors. It institutes and defines the economy of language, fosters a space of curiosity to deepen understanding and perspective, encourages constructive collaboration to elevate individual and group performance, and outlines what is acceptable and unacceptable behaviors to create spaces that embrace all identities and experiences as a benefit to the organization.
Create a talent budget. Forecast for annual salary increases, performance bonuses, and stipends with defined criteria that are competitive within your market. When developing the talent budget, assess the minimum to maximum experience level needed that aligns with where the organization is and aspires to go, then create the salary scale accordingly. Salary and bonuses are not rewards for employees as they provide their knowledge, time, and resources to meet or exceed organizational goals that strengthen the brand.
Again, the above 4 components are the initial start in designing a talent management plan and will inform your hiring to onboarding process for employees. When talent management design is intentional, employee experiences are more proactive with shared accountability, leverage abilities to improve employee engagements, and reinforce all stakeholders' commitment to the organization's beliefs and achievements as they evolve. Build it, and they will come....and stay longer. (Referencing the movie 'Field of Dreams'.) ;)