HR Planning for Talent Management – The Process

Key Takeaways

Human Resources can become an investment or an expenditure, depending on how you plan for it. 

As it is, Human Resources is often considered an addition to the bottom line unless a team directly generates profits. The wrong person in the right role or vice versa can cost the company much loss – financially and otherwise. Hence, acquiring and managing talent must be a well-thought-out activity.

In this article, you will understand the following:

  • HR planning for talent management is not just about finding the right person for the right job. It also involves motivating, developing, and retaining them.
  • The process of workforce planning may seem hard at a glance. However, there are effective strategies that can be implemented.
  • The talent management process includes creating a talent pool, defining HR processes, and finding employees who do not consider a job as just a means to earn a salary.

If someone told you that the adage ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ applies to creating a talent pool, you would probably scoff at them. However, when you think about it, this simple proverb applies to almost everything you do in life. 

It was patience, perseverance, and hard work to achieve success. For organizations to implement talent management, they must implement these aspects within the human resource function.  

To begin with, talent management is a larger concept than simply pegging people to job roles. It involves understanding, motivating, developing, and retaining employees. As your workforce increases, you need to plan your human resources appropriately, which is the responsibility of the HR team and all organizational heads. 

Proper and adequate planning can save you a lot of effort, costs, and time in handling the consequences of ineffective and unplanned HR practices. 

What is HR planning for Talent Management?

Human Resource Planning (HRP) or workforce planning is a strategic, systematic, and continuous process of acquiring and managing human resources optimally. 

A good HRP process can ensure efficient productivity with a steady stream of employees and avoid workforce shortages or surpluses. Simply put, it ensures the organization has ‘enough’ skilled employees who can complete the work well and on time.

How to Strategically Plan Your Workforce

So, now the question is, how much is enough? Being understaffed will mean that your workforce is overworked. Being overstaffed will mean your costs are higher and your workforce is unproductive. Do these happen in the organization consistently?

  • Do employees work for much longer hours?
  • Do employees take unplanned and sudden leave?
  • Are your targets met?
  • Is the quality of work up to the set standards?
  • Are your employees motivated to work?
  • Do you face high attrition?

These questions can give you much insight into your workforce’s productivity, efficiency, and morale. However, this can also be a strong indicator of an imbalance in staffing. Thus, strategic HR planning is necessary to maintain adequate employee strength for optimum productivity.

The four main aspects of HRP include:

#1 Taking stock of the current workforce (number as well as skill)

#2 Forecasting need for additional employees

#3 Matching supply and demand

#4 Creating action plans to meet organizational objectives

4 Benefits of strategic workforce planning

HRP has to be a steady and long-term activity to consistently review your workforce – not only for adequate staffing but also for productivity, efficiency, skill, and morale.  

HRP helps the organization in the following ways:

#1 Enables closing of skill gaps

HRP helps you understand if all current roles have employees with the right technical and soft skills and also what skills must be developed or acquired for future roles.

#2 Facilitates organizational development or expansion

Taking stock of your workforce before you attempt to set larger goals or expand your business is a good idea to ensure productivity and efficiency.

#3 Decreases bottom-line costs

Careful workforce planning can help you reduce hiring expenses and other costs invested in human resources. 

#4 Builds Employer Brand 

Development and growth opportunities via careful planning increase employee engagement, innovation, and collaboration, leading to top talent attraction and retention, helping the organization build a stronger brand and competitive edge in the market.  

The Talent Management Process in 5 Steps

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Talent management has five main stages, each of which needs scrutiny and planning:

#1 Create a future-focused workforce plan

It is important to identify the current and future manpower requirements of the company. When the top management makes a business decision (for growth, diversification, or closure of units), it needs to involve the talent acquisition team to have clarity of manpower planning.

The decision could need more hiring, promotions, or lateral movements.

Involvement of HR can bring more clarity to the nature, skills, and expectations of a job role. Project Leads can mention their expectations from prospective candidates.

This is a win-win since the Job Description is clear between operational heads and HR. Also, hiring experienced and highly skilled resources can be done on time if HR is included in the formative stages of new roles.

#2 Build talent pools and pipelines

Sourcing talent is beyond attracting candidates for job roles. It is about building a strong employer brand. Depending on how you position your brand, you are likely to attract candidates with specific skills, values, and expectations. Most companies use multiple sources to attract candidates for immediate hiring and engage with a potential talent pool.

Apart from job posts, ads, employee referrals, and third-party recruiters, many companies focus on making their brand memorable to build talent pools, communities, and pipelines. 

#3 Ensure an efficient interviewing and selection process

Many organizations are open to adopting newer techniques and technology to make their hiring process more efficient. Interview and select candidates who seem to fit into your organization to fulfill long-term goals instead of short-term needs. Adopt a layered (or stage-wise) hiring process to identify a candidate’s strengths, potential, and trainability.

An in-depth assessment of a candidate’s skills, motivators, and aspirations will help you understand how to engage and retain them.

#4 Define Human Resources’ strategic objectives

Many organizations put a lot of effort into hiring skilled candidates. When such candidates decide to part ways, the company tries harder to understand their needs and retain them. However, it is wise for an organization to consistently review the candidate’s efficiency, morale, and goals to make it easier for both parties to work harmoniously. 

Investing in employees and helping them develop will help the organization build a reliable, motivated, and productive workforce to meet long-term goals. Plan for skills and expertise to be transferred from employees who are about to leave the organization (quit or retire). This will ensure the retention of knowledge within the organization.

#5 Align employee engagement with business goals and strategy

Most companies have strong employee engagement processes to ensure high morale, cohesion, and retention of their workforce. Consistently engaging with your employees will help you understand what’s on their minds, where they need support, and what they are looking forward to. When their goals are in alignment with business goals, it creates a strong foundation for a productive and motivated organization.

This also instills confidence in the organization to set bigger goals for growth.

Top 5 Effective Talent Management Strategies

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#1 Align organizational and employee goals

Firstly, you must know what your organization aims for – in terms of business as well as culture. This will make it easy to hire the most compatible candidates for your company.

Secondly, knowing the candidate’s aspirations is very important for you to understand how they will fit into the organization. Creating a candidate persona is beneficial to the organization to align goals.

#2 Realign your Employee Value Proposition regularly

Many companies offer a great Employee Value Proposition (EVP) to candidates. What you can offer to an employee must be authentic. However, EVP for skilled and experienced, especially for leadership, must be calculated long-term. This requires HR and Operations to work together to create a strong growth path for employees. 

Many skilled employees find themselves lost in organizations since they cannot see a growth path. Some well-intentioned leaders also ask such employees to wait for opportunities without clarity on the same. Therefore, planning must also be done considering the company’s scope and constraints around EVP.

#3 Build standard hiring & employee management processes 

Your processes become more efficient if you standardize the framework. Standardizing processes for hiring and employee management such as onboarding, performance management, learning and development, internal mobility etc. also help you be more consistent, timely, and accountable in executing them. It helps you make data-driven decisions, making the process objective and transparent.  

Employees also find it easier to see what is in store for them and how they fit into the organization. 

#4 Engage and motivate your workforce

Employee engagement is beyond celebrating birthdays and festivals. It is about creating a sense of belongingness for the employees. It is about showing that employees matter to the organization. All the one-on-one meetings, coaching, and mentoring sessions are an attempt to make employee relations stronger. Along with engagement is employee motivation. 

A simple and effective way of motivating employees is a rewards and recognition program. People want to be acknowledged, noticed, and recognized for their effort and achievements. The best part about rewards and recognition is that organizations can get as creative as they can. Apart from offering monetary rewards, companies can also offer unique incentives such as time-offs, paid vacations, public praise, and care packages.

#5 Create an inclusive culture focused on employee well-being

Being mindful of employee well-being ensures productivity and motivation. Employee satisfaction surveys are a good way of knowing what matters most to employees to feel comfortable in the workplace. This positively influences organizational culture.

Culture, of course, must be reinforced right from the initial stages of interviewing. When leaders walk the talk, employees can build trust and transparency in them. Culture is built when every employee acts as per the company’s code of conduct and values.   

In conclusion

When the focus shifts from maintaining performance and achieving targets and business goals to ensuring employee development and well-being, human resource management transforms into talent management.

Talent management will mean using employees’ potential optimally to achieve business goals. As the business magnate Richard Branson says, “If you take care of your employees, they will take care of your business.”

FAQs on HR Planning for Talent Management

What is gap analysis in HR planning?

Gap analysis is to identify gaps between the demand and supply of employees in an organization. This is usually brought to notice through dips in productivity and efficiency markers. Through HR planning, you can identify gaps that have a high impact on organizational performance. 
Gaps can be filled by ensuring adequate staffing and/or skill development. 

What is the difference between HR planning and talent management?

Both processes are aimed at building a strong, productive, motivated workforce. The distinction lies in the outcome of the activity. HR planning is to ensure adequate and skilled staffing, whereas talent management is aimed at retaining the acquired skill and talent within the organization. You will notice that HR planning extends into talent management, and both are used to achieve business goals and outcomes.

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