Six tips for successful talent management


The “war for talent” and the shortage of skilled workers are on everyone’s lips: it is becoming increasingly difficult to recruit and retain highly qualified specialists and managers as well as digital high potentials, most of whom belong to Generation Y. The “war for talent” is a major issue in the German economy. But successful talent management is no witchcraft: Those who invest time right from the start in recruiting and retaining employees gain advantages in the competition for the best. Six tips to keep in mind.

1) Give HR the right meaning within the organization

Any founder or CEO who has not yet raised the issue of personnel to the highest strategic level should do so as soon as possible. Only those who can attract, motivate and retain the best employees will deliver excellent results and remain competitive. But if you want to attract the best, you have to understand who the best people are for the company. The human resources department must therefore be strongly staffed from the outset at the latest, however, from a company size of around 20 employees and closely involved in day-to-day business. Medium to long-term plannable and proactive HR measures that save money and time in the long term make the integration of HR at the highest management level indispensable. HR is a matter for the boss.

2) Employer Brand: Creating an Identification Basis for Candidates

Generation Y representatives are usually the recruiting focus of the digital economy. One of the central themes of this generation is to make sensible use of their lifetime. Since well-trained candidates can usually choose between several offers, they make their decisions not only based on the key data of an offer, but above all by identifying with the company’s goals and values. This is why successful recruiting begins even before the recruiting process: with the development of a strong employer brand.

This brand fulfils several functions: Ideally, it not only attracts suitable applicants, but also motivates and binds existing employees. But a well communicated employer brand alone is worth little. Above all, it must be authentic, since the information behaviour of the digital natives in the application process no longer ends on the website but networks, evaluation portals and employee opinions flow into the decision-making process.

3) Job profile: clarify who is actually being searched for

Before recruiting for a position can begin, some basic considerations should take place that can save time and money. The analysis of the existing positions within a department and the examination whether another employee could develop to fill the new position are the first considerations. Internal development should be preferred to external recruitment. On the one hand, a lower position is usually easier to fill and saves costs; on the other hand, the focus must be on employee development and the associated retention.

Subsequently, a specific requirements profile can be defined: How is the position anchored in the company, what tasks and areas of responsibility does it have? What specialist knowledge and personality must the future employee bring with him or her in order to fulfil his or her role in the best possible way? Only those who clearly define these criteria can recruit the right employee and not only later in the process determine who is actually being sought.

4) Defining a sourcing strategy and communicating it to target groups

Recruiting today is no longer just the sharing and administration of job advertisements. It has become a marketing and sales task: New candidates have to be reached, convinced and converted to employees by recruiters according to the target group. A sourcing strategy must be defined for each position: While job advertisements are still suitable for less selective job profiles, expert profiles and executives should be filled via Active Sourcing. In this way, latent candidates are reached and made aware of the company.

Due to the selective information behavior in the digital environment, relevant messages must be disseminated where the candidates are located. It is therefore necessary to define in which forums, job exchanges, media, networks and so on the targeted candidates move and in which country markets. Only through these considerations can candidates be reached directly via social networks or indirectly via suitable specialist articles and advertisements. No matter which channel: The content should be individual, relevant and personalised.

5) From candidate to employee: Creating the right candidate experience

In order to optimize the transformation of prospective candidates into applicants and ultimately the right employees, the candidate experience must be right throughout the entire communication and recruiting process: Not only the candidate applies to the company, but also vice versa: transparency and respectful treatment are prerequisites for candidates today. Poor or outdated career pages, complicated application masks, late feedback on the receipt of applications or very long processing times quickly become the abort criterion.

Missteps, such as poor preparation of the interviewer or lack of presence of the future manager, are also acknowledged with the decision for a different offer and termination. Especially towards the end of the process, it is important not to lose any more relevant applicants. The later suitable candidates are eliminated in the process, the more expensive it becomes for the company, since the process often has to be initiated again from the beginning. For candidates, the application experience ends with either a professional offer or a swift rejection, which must also be part of the process. A very positive application experience is often communicated in networks and thus pays off for the brand and attractiveness of the employer. A process investment that pays off twice over.

6) After hiring: Setting the course for successful employee retention

Once the right employees have been recruited, their loyalty and development come to the fore in order to avoid unnecessary fluctuation. In addition to professionally set up discussion and feedback systems, the manager plays a decisive role here: he or she is responsible for the smooth integration of a new employee, the expectation management, the target agreements, the direction, the continuous further development and thus the motivation of the employee.

Generation Y expects management to have a leadership style at eye level in which the manager accompanies and advises them as a coach, but leaves enough leeway to achieve goals on their own path. So when it comes to employee retention, a professional feedback system must be introduced, but its successful implementation depends on the manager. Young companies must therefore focus on training and recruiting excellent managers. Only those who have the right leadership skills on board can win, motivate and retain even the best in the medium to long term.

Published by Dave John

Decade of work experience in leadership consulting with strong focus on talent acquisition & assessment across different industries and geographies.

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