10 steps of the Talent Management process

talent management process

Talent acquisition is not about selecting a few better personalities from a pool of candidates that is filled randomly and constantly. Even if it may seem superficial from a business perspective, it is a very logical to focus on the rare high potentials, the true talents. Focusing on talents alone represents a change of direction from pure recruiting to talent acquisition.

It is not about choosing a few good ones among many. It is about attracting, recruiting, retaining and promoting individual talents. The art is to discover in each employee his or her special talent.

The following steps explain what this mean in detail. Unlike the recruiting process, the talent management process never ends. Even if the first step can be repeated over and over again, there is in fact no final step that would bring the process to an end.


Step 01: Decision making

The need for comprehensive, long-term and sustainable recruiting must be recognised at management level. Only when all those involved agree that such a process is sensible, necessary and promising should they move on to further steps.

Step 02: Definition of a talent

It is said that nothing can be talked about unless it clarifies the definitions of the terms. This is true for any new process or strategy, including a new talent management system. Just years ago, it was believed that the Digital War of Talents was about the few outstanding talents rather than candidates. That is still true, but a change in definition has now cast it in a different light.

A definition of talent describes those skilled workers who are selected special. This selection can be based on intellectual criteria as well as on educational background, age or career history. Less attention is paid to soft skills such as eagerness to learn and social skills. Harvard graduate is considered a valuable talent, the dropout from any university is not, regardless of whether he or she has gained valuable skills and knowledge in their previous careers. The democratic definition of talent goes further: it includes learning agility, feedback culture and individual development.

Step 03: Planning and preparation

Acquisition, Onboarding, Administration

At this point you have created the basis for starting concrete planning. Think carefully about which concepts are suitable for your company. Not every model can apply to everyone, no matter how well it might work for your competitor: Your company is unique, so your talent acquisition should be too.

Coordinate and delegate the individual steps in close consultation with the TAM and the rest of your team. Create schedules. By when do you want your employer branding campaign up and running? When do you want the first figures to be analysed and who will take over the monitoring? What channels are used for recruitment? Who takes care of the onboarding and what should it look like? Do not take this step lightly. The strategy depends on the planning and administration.

Step 04: Sourcing and acquisition

The implementation follows the planning. Now you are in the middle of recruiting and waiting for your company to act as a magnet. Don’t forget that you will remain equally active on two fronts: internally and externally. Talent acquisition begins with the specialists already recruited. Stick to the plans.

Step 05: Recruiting, selection and administration

On the one hand, you wait for your employer brand to receive feedback from outside and for the talents to flow to you. On the other hand, you are internally in the middle of selecting existing talent and concentrating on the potential that has been lying dormant until now. This is where the difference between your previous recruiting and real talent acquisition becomes apparent. At best, you now also look at your applicants with different eyes and recognize more potential and greater opportunities than before.

Step 06: Evaluation of the performance

An initial review of the previous procedure is necessary to correct any wrong decisions immediately. If you encounter resistance, for example, from your employees, respond to it. Often it is not understanding and willingness that is lacking, but clear communication. Transparency and communication at eye level and the involvement of all those involved including the talents themselves have priority. After all, you are aiming for a talent acquisition model that works in the long term.

Step 07: Analysis – Review of the procedure

Often, when HR managers review past practices, they find that innovation is needed to become more effective. In fact, surveys have shown that talents themselves often still perceive the most recently introduced innovation. The difficulty in an approach analysis is to decide what is innovative and leads to the goal, and what only looks beautiful and new but is not effective in implementation.

Step 08: Adaptation – methods and talent development

Under the measures identified in the analysis, methods should always be questioned and adapted. The art of talent acquisition is to keep the balance between stability and agility. Stay open-minded and curious, call regular meetings and actively ask the workforce to develop talent with the involvement of the talents and thus in a sustainable and goal-oriented manner.

A prerequisite for the success of the entire process is to give the Talent Acquisition Manager a relatively free hand as well as resources and decision-making power.

Step 09: Interim result – the best talents

Talent acquisition takes time. You will need years to apply the entire system holistically and to recognize the successes across the board. But you will see the first interim successes after only a few weeks, when the feedback of your employees arrives, when you notice increased performance and when the external image, the employer branding gains shape.

Step 10: Evaluation of the process

Once the first results are available, the evaluation can begin. To do this, the Talent Acquisition Manager should work closely with the company’s management, marketing, sales and other involved professionals. This is the only way to make a valid judgement by examining processes from all sides. Always make it clear to yourself, your employees and decision-makers that you are pursuing a long-term strategy that will ultimately benefit everyone involved.

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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