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Developing a solid talent management strategy is essential to your business success. It helps retain your brightest and best employees, fosters productivity and enhances corporate and individual growth.

Did you know that 67% of the industrial world finds it extremely difficult to identify, develop, engage and retain their talented people? Or that the cost of recruiting a middle manager is between 35% and 65% of their annual salary? Those numbers alone highlight the business case for talent management.

What do you need to consider for your talent management strategy? It really comes down to five core things:

1) Be an inspiring leader and hire great managers. One of the best things that you can do is to hire good people who can mentor, develop and manage your employees. This leadership is essential to your organization’s ability to keep your talent. People will leave companies that lack strong leadership. Equip the folks who oversee your talent with the knowledge, resources and empowerment required to build—and retain—their teams. Measure your managers by their employee engagement and make it part of their compensation.

2) Keep professional development as a core value. After a fair compensation program, professional development at all levels is a close second priority for employees. Remember that you are helping people develop and manage their careers. Consider their unique strengths, weaknesses, and work and life goals, and invest in the time to help them develop a roadmap to success. It will have an enormous impact on their attitude, productivity and satisfaction.

3) Link corporate goals to individual performance. Be sure that your people get to fill their day with those things they do best and love most. Engagement and productivity both soar in this environment. Employees who understand where they add value do a better job of adding it. Encourage your managers to have open dialogue with employees and to invite and give regular feedback. Through conversation, as well as formal evaluation methods, you can evaluate your talent, identify skill gaps and create plans and processes to maximize employee effectiveness.

4) Pay attention to employee feedback. When you ask for feedback, be prepared to act on it. Engage in exit interviews, stay interviews and climate surveys. If you are consistently losing your best talent, take the time to learn what is broken so you can fix it before more good people walk out the door. Also, make sure that you tell employees what you plan to do with their feedback. By being accountable for taking action, you and your management team build a culture of trust and communication. It also sends a powerful message of validation that you pay attention to what your people are telling you.

5) Invest in workforce planning. Where is your organization today and where do you hope to be in the future? Do you have the talent to get you there, or do you need to invest in targeted recruitment strategies to fill specific gaps? Are there high-potential individuals who can move up and around within your company? What training do they require?  When you recruit, are you attracting the right kind of people, do you consistently feel like the candidate pool isn’t meeting your needs?

These important questions will help your management team, HR department or staffing partner begin to create an effective talent management plan.

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