How Talent Management and Training Must Go Hand-In-Hand
Thelma and Louise. Cheese and wine. Talent management and training - things that all go hand-in-hand, and the latter is something that you can't overlook in business.

Many do, but the best practice of talent management is to recognise that making sure your staff are fully-equipped, with the training that they need, is essential. Today, we take a look at the fundamentals of talent management and training, so join us on our journey to demonstrate why top-quality training is necessary for any forward-thinking strategy.

What is talent management?

Talent management, essentially, is nurturing employees and moulding them into the vision of not only your business, but also to the requirements of the industry itself. It's a long process that has to be obeyed, with the need of a clear, focused and tangible strategy to keep it prominent in your workplace.

Talent Management Strategy

It can be a long process to manage talent, from placing the right advert to employing the right staff, leading into the right head-start into the business and developing them in the right way – while paying special attention to retaining the best of the bunch.

Many, unfortunately, see talent management as a tool that belongs solely in the Human Resources department. Well, we disagree. It's a fundamental tool that is necessary, across a business structure, to make sure that staff of varying tasks and responsibilities are well-trained and being used to their full potential.

The CIPD website has its own section on talent management; stating its belief that the tool is increasing in importance throughout the business structure: “Talent management is now an essential management practice; what was once solely attached to recruitment now covers a multitude of areas.” Avoid it at your peril, or read on to see how this change has become a necessity and why training is integral to a sustainable structure.

How has talent management become so important?

In an economy where value-for-money is at a premium, it's important for businesses to make sure that the staff they employ are as well trained as they are monitored – not in a CCTV sense, but to make sure that their skills and desires are being well managed.

This is not just a case for new employees – far from it. You're never too old or too experienced to learn a new skill, and that's why talent management is imperative for all levels of a business; and why monitoring protocols to measure the quality of target management is just as important as the system itself.

It's a tool that should be led from the top-down. We've touched on the fact that it's more than just an HR issue – but HR is integral to it. To effectively manage talent, a clear strategy should be set by senior, experienced staff, with HR on hand to discuss with each department how to implement their system successfully.

How is it going to be run? How are we going to manage this on a daily basis? How are we going to ensure a clear pathway for making sure talent is properly managed across a long period, and not just for immediate results? Valid questions to ask, and questions that must be answered before a talent management system is implemented.

Why is training so important for talent management?

High-quality training is important for any business, and it's key to make sure that your staff are given every tool needed and every pearl of wisdom possible if they are to effectively do their jobs. As mentioned before, you're never too experienced to learn something new; whether that be a new process, a new programme or a new pathway in the industry.

Training is needed in every facet of a business, from the grass-roots level of entry positions to the most senior of roles, and with talent management, you will have a tangible resource in making sure that your staff are getting both the training that they need and the training that they desire.

Training Your Staff

An effective talent management strategy requires:

  • Defined objectives and rewards – give employees a goal to strive for.
  • Effective recruitment – make sure that you're employing the best staff possible.
  • Development of individuals and teams – give staff opportunities, both alone and as a group, to enhance their skills.
  • Increased staff retention – keep a hold of staff in the programme and watch them grow – don't give up on them.
  • Quantifiably improved performance – monitor performance in a tangible way that can show that improvements are being made, and show that to your staff for greater self-esteem.

Without training, a talent management system is destined to be split in the middle and there will be no positive results to look back on. Each of the above points goes hand-in-hand with each other, and training is a vital part of this structure.

Do you need to improve your staff's skills? Train them. Do you need to increase the rate of staff that you retain? Train them and they will stick with you. Do you need to develop a team? Train them as a team and watch them flourish as a collective. Without meeting all of the criteria, parts of your talent management strategy will start to fall apart.

Failing to invest in your staff is like putting diesel fuel into a petrol car. It can lead to major problems and be more costly to sort out in the long run, so why not invest in the first instance? And with that investment, you need a clear and concise structure of objectives and rewards for your staff, which will in turn lead to increased staff retention.

If you have spent plenty of money in training, the best way to monitor that training and make sure it is being implemented correctly is through a talent management system. The last thing you want is to employ staff but find that they're not receiving the best integration into the role, which could lead to poor performance or, in some cases, poor retention.

How about an example?

Meet Larry. We all know Larry. We all like Larry, because he makes a great cup of tea. But not only that, our friendly IT technician makes for the perfect example of how talent management is integral in all areas of the business.

Being in the company's IT department, it's important for Larry to keep on top of the latest tools and development strategies that can keep the organisation at the top of the ladder. The problem is, Larry's skills are rarely improved (unless he finds time, after a busy day, to take on some learning from home).

Now, here's where a lack of talent management can have its biggest issues. Larry is feeling despondent and knows that the company is falling behind the leading pack, and that he needs knowledge in new areas in order to improve and help the business to prosper. He's not getting this help from line managers, and thus, feels unhappy and considers quitting the business (despite being an excellent technician) because he feels that his best interests aren't at heart.

Add to this the fact that Larry doesn't have any defined objectives or rewards. What is he working towards? What is the greater goal? This, too, can leave the employee feeling neglected and looking for alternative work which will help him to improve in his chosen career. He's now gone, and you're left looking for another member of staff to do his job who, in all fairness, will probably leave for similar reasons in a year or two.

This is where the talent management structure comes in. Give Larry the very tools that he craves, invest in his training and, therefore his future, and set out clear objectives of things that you wish for him to aspire to each month, or each quarter. It may just be a case of looking for new development areas or new software/hardware that can improve the business – but it's a quantifiable goal which, with his training, could lead to greater self-esteem and greater level of output as a result.

Nurturing Employees

This same model can be applied across the business. Take sales as an example – if you don't help colleagues to improve their skills, then they are not going to be to the same quality as salespeople at competing offices. Or take your Human Resources department: are they fully trained with the latest practices? No? Well, it sounds like a talent management plan is what you need.

What talent management means to Activia Training – and how we can help you

As a training company, who thrive on seeing individuals pick up new skills and thrive in business, we're striving to help companies with two main areas of their talent management programmes.

With aid in the key components, evaluating performance and developing staff, we look to help businesses in setting up a process to manage their talent, and make sure that staff are receiving the best possible training for their day-to-day working life.

With that, Activia aims to make these areas of learning as easy as possible for businesses, and provide the tools needed to help discover to what degree employees require training and work out which types of training are needed to best suit each individual. We've got a number of courses available, so make sure to have a look at our full course list.

But don't think that our courses are one-track. We like to help with a variety of options that can be off-the-shelf, or we'll sit down and tailor the best-quality training to suit business needs.

What do you think? Do you believe training and talent management to be a necessary marriage like we do? Or do you hold an alternative view?