Although it may seem that the most important thing for a company is the building in which it operates, its shares on the IBEX 35 (if it’s listed) or its capital, the fact is that it’s people who spur a business on. Human talent is a company’s most important intangible asset and it should never be regarded as a cost. Developing talent management strategies should therefore be a priority within the company’s human resources.
What are human talent management strategies?
Human talent management strategies can be defined as a set of practices focused on enabling each employee to fulfil his/her highest potential. These actions should be viewed from a 360º perspective and encompass all the phases of the process, from attracting talent to motivating and retaining employees.
There’s no point identifying human talent for a team if it’s going to end up leaving. Talent management strategies are therefore extremely important. In fact, according to data taken from the Survey of Spanish companies on the evolution of their activity (Bank of Spain, 2022), more than a third of the respondents pointed to a shortage of labour as one of the factors negatively affecting their business.
At this point we should highlight three phases when it comes to proper human talent management: attracting, developing and retaining.
Attracting talent: the importance of emotional salary and employer branding
At the recruitment stage it’s vital for the conversation between company and candidate to be two-way. Gone are the days when the prospective employee accepted everything and tried to “sell” him/herself. Now both sides have to persuade the other that they’re the best option. Employer branding is the image projected by the company and it must be nurtured.
Of course, the salary is crucial, but it’s no longer everything. There’s another aspect, colloquially known as emotional salary, which must also be attractive to appeal to the best talent; it includes working hours, social benefits, work-life balance, the option of remote working, a good working environment and so on. All the above must be put on the table during the interviews.
Encouraging internal mobility and identifying opportunities: talent can also be created
Not all employees in the same department are equal. Good human talent management must be able to detect the strengths and weaknesses of each individual and offer challenges and responsibilities upon this basis. Talent is also created, which is why it’s essential to leave room for creativity and develop certain functions which, in principle, are not inherent to a given position but ones about which the worker has a certain curiosity.
Encouraging internal mobility: goodbye to the elephants’ graveyard
Nothing saps an employee’s productivity and creativity more than the feeling that he/she’s in an “elephants’ graveyard”. In other words, each and every one of the rest of their working days will be the same, with no chance of promotion, changing or enjoying new opportunities. It’s important to create human resources policies that permit mobility within a company in order to motivate its workers and make them feel that they’re undergoing a continuous learning process.
Improving working conditions: the importance of a work-life balance
This balance is becoming increasingly important. And companies can do a lot to improve it in order to manage their human talent better. Anne Mulcahy, former CEO of Xerox, once declared: “Satisfied employees create satisfied customers, which leads to more profitable companies”. It’s not just a matter of offering better hours or the chance to work from home. There are other activities related to well-being that can help to improve the perception of the company.
Career planning as a means of retaining talent
The last stage of human talent management is a company’s retention capacity. It’s a mistake to offer a pay rise to an employee when he/she already has another offer on the table. Money isn’t everything. Indeed, talent retention must be watched over on a constant basis.
All the human talent management strategies mentioned above are important in achieving this objective, but we can add one more: offering a career plan suited to the needs and objectives of each of the employees and helping them to develop it starting on the very first day they arrive at the company.