How to Develop a Talent Management Framework for Your Organization

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How to Develop a Talent Management Framework for Your Organization

A solid talent management framework helps organizations execute their talent management strategy and improve performance. How can you develop and implement such a framework?

What is a talent management framework?
Why does your organization need a talent management framework?
Elements of your talent management framework
7 steps to develop a talent management framework

What is a talent management framework?

A talent management framework gives structure to your plan to meet the human capital and business needs within the organization. It helps you make sure that you have everything in place to successfully execute on your talent management strategy and boost your workforce’s performance.

A good framework outlines different areas of talent management in your organization. It presents activities you can carry out in each area to maximize its effectiveness in your talent management strategy. Ultimately, it can serve you as a checklist when creating or iterating your strategy.

With a proper customized talent management framework, you can increase efficiency within the organization’s talent pool. Rather than guessing what needs to happen, a useful talent management framework gives you an edge on human capital management–you know what you need and how to achieve it.

Talent Management Framework Example
Our example is partially based on a framework proposed by BountiXP.

Why does your organization need a talent management framework?

Many organizations do not have a formal talent management framework; instead, they solve problems on an ad-hoc basis. Josh Bersin equates a talent management framework to a supply chain. You would never just wing it, hoping to find a new supplier or build a new manufacturing plant overnight. You plan, sign contracts, and carefully monitor your product, timing, and return on investment.

For many organizations, their human capital is far more valuable than their physical capital. A lot of businesses are knowledge-based, and you should take the same care to create a talent management framework as a manufacturing business takes to develop and manage its supply chain.

Some of the things that a solid talent management framework helps with are:

  • Attracting and retaining top talent. A recent TinyPulse survey found that 76 percent of employees are looking for growth opportunities. Your talent management framework can help you demonstrate what your company can do for its employees, enabling you to attract new talent and retain the people you have. They don’t need to look outside for growth if you have a plan within the organization.
  • Improving employee and organizational performance. Every piece of machinery has a scheduled maintenance plan. Every plant manager knows that neglecting maintenance results in shutdowns and costs more than maintaining equipment. Likewise, you can increase your employee and organizational performance by carefully monitoring and knowing what you need to do to avoid shutdowns.
  • Engaging employees. A proper talent management framework with a useful talent dashboard enables you to know what you need to do to engage with an employee. You can discuss career growth, development, and training strategies. Everyone–from the employee to the manager to the HR professional–can be on the same page. It helps eliminate guesswork.
  • Strengthening talent development strategies. You can’t do a good job developing talent if you don’t have a directional goal. With a talent management framework, you know what you need and what skills the employees lack. With those two bits of knowledge, you can strengthen your plan and focus on combining business needs with employee goals.
  • Improving succession planning. Many companies lack succession plans altogether, so having one alone is a great benefit. Making it a part of your talent management framework gives you direction, helps identify talent gaps and prepare your organization for the future.

Elements of your talent management framework

You can do a bit of googling and come up with sample talent management frameworks, all of which help build your own–but keep in mind that each must be adjusted to fit your business, your business needs, and your employees. Begin with the idea that you want to develop and grow your current talent rather than chasing each role’s perfect person. 

The Barstow Institute of Educational Leadership gives a three-point framework to begin your unique development. It is:

  1. Identify high potential leaders based on performance, potential, and readiness.
  2. Develop the leaders’ specific learning needs in a variety of contexts, including on-the-job.
  3. Support the leaders with feedback and mentoring from a range of people.

This has the advantage of being simple enough to apply to any business–large or small–and customizable enough to work for any industry. You do need to add a step 0. Identify business goals.

The Centre for Executive Education has a more extended plan, but still in a simple format. Theirs consists of six points:

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  1. Talent Acquisition
  2. Talent Development
  3. Performance Management
  4. Succession Planning
  5. Talent Engagement
  6. Organizational Results

Again, this needs to fit in with the framework of the business needs and your company’s values and goals. 

Of course, you can begin with a plan that gives you a detailed step by step–resulting in more than 40 steps, but it can often be useful to start with one of these simple plans.

Once you have the backbone of your talent management framework, you can start breaking it down into more detailed actions to take. Let’s take talent development as an example. Your framework could contain the following steps:

The critical part of any framework is that you keep it employee-focused. If you cannot meet the needs of your employees, you will not have success.

Develop your plan by working with your people to find solutions. For instance, when developing your talent management framework’s succession planning portion, speak with your employees to determine their wants. It doesn’t do much good to slate someone for a future leadership role only to find out that this person isn’t interested in serving in such a role. If your company requires relocation to develop all the skills necessary for senior positions, you better make sure that the people on your plan are willing to move when the time comes.

Performance management is often an overlooked part of this plan. Don’t manage performance just by removing people who do not meet your expectations, but truly manage them. What skills do they lack, and how can the business support them in obtaining them? Do your managers provide useful feedback at the moment? A good talent management strategy will help managers and leadership in coaching and developing the employees.

At all times, you need to go back to the organizational goals and demands to make sure your talent strategy aligns with that. People may wish to go one way, but business needs may need to go another. Human capital management cannot ignore business needs in favor of creating happy employees. There are times when employees need to part ways with the company, and you need to replace them with people whose personal goals align with the business’s goals.

7 steps to develop a talent management framework

It seems like a lot of work to get a talent management framework put together. HR and management often focus on managing the day-to-day operations instead of working toward the future. However, putting this together will reduce everyone’s stress and workload eventually while also keeping your employees motivated and engaged.

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Here are the steps you need to go through to develop your framework.

1. Get leadership buy-in

While talent management may be in the human resources department’s specific purview, you cannot build this without management buy-in. You need to have alignment across the organization. If HR develops the framework on its own, it will be a wasteful side project. Support from the C-level on down is critical for a successful framework.

2. Analyze your organization’s needs

To build a proper framework, you need to understand the business’ goals. You need to conduct a formal needs analysis and speak to various people to understand the objectives. Siloed organizations can often miss out on how talent in other silos can help them succeed. A good framework can bring that together. In short, you cannot assess talent needs and gaps without understanding business needs and gaps.

3. Review your employee lifecycle

By reviewing each stage of employee lifecycle, you’re able to identify where the potential for improvement is.

How do you approach recruiting? Are your sourcing techniques bringing in the candidates to help the business succeed not only today but in five or ten years?

When does turnover happen? Do you have a handful of long-term employees, and the rest of the employees cycle out after two to three years? Figure out what is going wrong and why they leave.

Are you providing your employees with a clear career path at your organization? Do they have sufficient opportunities for learning & development?

4. Identify the elements of your talent management framework and KPIs to measure success

Not only do you need to identify your elements (see above), you need to figure out how to measure these elements. How will you measure your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)? How do these fit into the overall business goals?

Let’s say Talent Acquisition is one of the elements of your framework. A good metric to track would be time to hire, which helps you evaluate the efficiency of your recruitment process.

5. Be employee-centric

No strategy, no matter how brilliant, will succeed without the right employees. The right employees need the proper support and development to grow. In other words, the best talent management frameworks are employee-centered. You can use words like “talent” and “human capital,” but don’t forget that what you are talking about is living, breathing human beings who have needs outside of work.

If your strategy requires 80 hours a week of work from everyone to achieve business success, it will fail, as it’s not truly employee-centric.

6. Develop tools to make the framework work

Do you have the systems necessary for communication, collaboration, documentation, and integration across departments and divisions? Do you support tuition reimbursement? If not, you won’t get people to take outside courses to increase their skills. How does your total rewards package measure up with your competitors? A framework without proper tools won’t help.

7. Put your framework into action

Getting everything down on paper is one thing; putting it into action is another. This is an organizational transformation, and, like all transformations, you will meet resistance. Plan to deal with this! Prepare support for employees who struggle with the transformation.

Over to you

Putting a talent management framework in place takes time and effort. However, it helps fully align your talent management strategy with organizational goals. The plan needs to be sustainable, and you need to provide the tools you need to help your employees and your business perform better. Putting this together will help guide you in the future, giving you a high return on investment.

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