How to Create Your Talent Strategy

March 31, 2017 By Marketing Hyde Park Angels

A business is nothing without its people. Success in business can always be tied back to the people who are building it ‘hands-on’. No matter the size of the company, each person has a significant impact. Whether it is your fifth hire or your 500th, every employee contributes to the team dynamic, productivity, office environment and overall culture in some way.

A bad hire can cost your business more money and time than you may realize when you factor in retraining, rehiring, and how negativity and unproductivity can spread through the company. A bad hire may even lead to top-performing employees parting ways with the company. The people that make up your organization play an integral role in the overall success of your business, and a strong talent strategy will ensure your company is taking the right steps to find the best people to contribute to your team and evolve the business. That’s why we created a guide to creating a strong talent strategy.

What’s Talent Strategy?

A talent strategy is focused on resourcefully developing an in-depth plan around acquiring, hiring and retaining top-notch employees. This plan should be cohesive with the company’s business strategy. This alignment will help guarantee that the right candidates going through the hiring process will pass with flying colors – from both a cultural and skillset perspective.

When designed the right way, a talent strategy will lead your team to source and retain talent that will conquer your company’s quest for growth and innovation. Even if you haven’t managed this process before, you can take these steps to create your own talent strategy from scratch.

  1. Set Clear Company Values and Define Company Goals

To bring on the right people, you have to understand the company’s culture, objectives and goals. If you don’t have these mapped out, your company will not know who to look for or what qualities are key. Your company culture can be identified through the shared attitudes, beliefs and standards that define the company’s overall vision and goal.

Defining your business’ vision can take time. You are essentially being asked to define exactly what your company plans to accomplish within a certain amount of time. It’s helpful to take a step back and capture what is really important for your company to accomplish as a whole. By knowing exactly what it is you want to accomplish, the hiring process will be much easier because you will naturally set out to source potential candidates that seem to align with your company’s values and goals.

  1. Know What Roles You Are Hiring For

There is far more to a job than its title. Whether your company is big or small, it is made up of individuals who contribute to ongoing progression through their specific roles. When identifying your company’s current needs, it is important to identify gaps within the organization. Identify how your current employees are contributing, and ask yourself what you are truly missing. Whether there is a specific skill set missing, a lack of management, or a need for improved internal operations, these gaps need to be understood. By targeting exactly what skills are missing, you are able to strictly define the roles you should be hiring for.

Once you have a steady understanding of what the organization needs, it is important to write out a well-rounded job description. Job descriptions should be compelling, clear and concise. Potential employees should know what they are applying for and what is expected of them if they get the opportunity. This includes their requirements, responsibilities and where they will be placed in your “company tree”. This is also a great opportunity to display your company’s culture by using specific verbiage that defines who your company is as a whole.

  1. Create A Clear Schedule and Assign Responsibilities 

Before rushing to get open seats filled, try to grasp the bigger picture. Once you feel that you truly understand your company’s’ talent strategy objectives, break them down into individual actionable steps.  These steps should all play a part in each team member’s responsibilities to help complete the strategy plan. By knowing who is responsible for what, you can set clear expectations for each aspect of your talent strategy. Most applicant tracking systems have scheduling tools that can be utilized and often integrate with email. But if your company does not have an applicant tracking system, we recommend creating a shared calendar for all team members involved in the interview process to see. The recruiter can then schedule in advance the interviews and internal team meetings that are necessary for the team members to attend to attain feedback and keep the interview process moving. This way, everyone gets a big picture overview of the timeline for the interview process and what is needed of them.

Each person involved in the interview process is responsible for certain aspects of the process. It is important that each person knows exactly what they are responsible for, and it is even more important for the team to be taught best practices for interviewing and hiring. The person responsible for overseeing the hiring process should provide the team with helpful guides and trainings to make sure everyone is conducting interviews successfully and in a professional manner.

  1. Measure the Results and Communicate the Success and Contributions

The next step in setting your goals, is actually reaching them. When it comes to building your talent strategy, the data behind your responses, interviews, and leads is vital to gaining successful candidates. By taking the time to understand this data, your team can spot where your hiring process needs improvement. This will also allow you to communicate concrete success to your team all while allowing your team to plan effectively and focus on tasks that deserve more attention than others. A few examples of metrics to track include number of emails sent and percentage of response, number of applications received, number of candidate phone interviews, percentage of candidates who made it to the final interview and hours spent sourcing and interviewing for each specific role open.

  1. Clearly Communicate Across the Company and Specific Teams

The interview process usually has an overwhelming amount of moving parts, especially when you have multiple candidates in play. For early stage companies that do not yet want to commit financial resources to an applicant tracking system, we recommend creating a Slack channel to easily communicate and share files with the rest of the internal team members involved. This way, everyone knows where to go to get updates on the interview process and can easily access all documents and files shared with them that relate to the specific role the team is hiring for. Google Drive is also a great place to store information and keep all files organized.

With all of the individuals you are interviewing, it is easy to lose track of which candidates you liked and who is really meeting your company’s criteria. While this task can be time-consuming and tedious, it is one that will absolutely make or break the effectiveness of your talent strategy. As the interviewer, there are variety of things you can do to ensure the process runs smoothly and that everyone is on the same page.

  • Create a Bank of Interview Questions: These questions should be tied to specific areas that align with your company’s business plan. These areas can include questioning for culture, skills, personality tests and management styles.
  • Create Scorecards: While it’s important to have the interview flow conversationally, it is also important to remember why exactly you’re interviewing this candidate and making sure you are on the same page with your team. By creating a scorecard, it is easy to track the candidate’s specific ability in a variety of areas and ensure that they will bring something to the table that properly pairs with your business plan.
  • Schedule Round Tables: These are meetings where the interviewers get a chance to regroup on what they thought about the candidates in play. While everyone who attends this meeting might have a different perspective, it’s important to hear each person out regarding why they think this individual would be a good fit for your company. It’s easy to misinterpret situations and not see the candidate’s full potential – especially in such a nerve-racking situation.


       6.  Ensure Employee Retention – From Talent Strategy to Your Organization’s Onboarding

How do you improve employee retention? While your company’s talent strategy is created to acquire top talent, the other important piece to this puzzle is to retain the employees who really make a difference in your organization. This process ultimately begins with your talent strategy and the interview process.

It’s important to ask tailored questions for the specific role. Get to know the candidate on a personal level. Ask personality and situational questions to see if this potential employee fits your company culture. Using a scorecard is very helpful when receiving candidate responses to these questions. That way when it comes time for your team to review the candidate, you have proper documentation of the strengths and weaknesses. Once the ideal candidate is hired, they deserve a proper introduction to the company. Make sure your onboarding process is an enjoyable and exciting experience for newly hired employees. It will either heighten their excitement for the new opportunity ahead or make them question if taking the job was the right move.

By initiating a thorough and supportive onboarding experience, your new employee will feel more confident when tackling the role. Your talent strategy and onboarding go hand in hand. Both are crucial to employee retention and new hire experience. So, make sure you have a built out talent strategy that helps every potential employee off on the right foot and down the path of success within your team.

Teamwork and Team Spirit via PhotoPin (license)