Photo: Nick van den Berg
Talent management and employee engagement have become key buzz phrases in business. Each has taken human asset management to a more specific, more integrated level.
Talent management’s definitions are reasonably consistent. Here are valid examples:
- Everything done to recruit, retain, develop, reward and make people perform forms a part of talent management.
- Talent management is an organization’s commitment to recruit, retain, and develop the most talented and superior employees available.
- Talent management means selecting the right people, developing their potential and fueling their enthusiasm, building their commitment, and also supporting them through periods of change.
Talent management offers value at the revenue end. Customer satisfaction, product development, and marketing innovation all benefit by being accomplished by talented performers. Talent management also contributes to expense reduction. Quality improvement, process redesign and employee retention are results generated when talent works the business.
Among the many, varied definitions of employee engagement, I select this one:
- Employee Engagement: the individual’s investment of her/his time, energy, skills, knowledge, and creativity in the efforts and directions set by the organization.
Simply stated: talent management acquires and supports higher levels of skills and knowledge; employee engagement increases the value application of the skills and knowledge. Talent generates revenue and reduces expenses; engagement lets them do that more, do that better.
Businesses now aim to give more attention and action to both talent management and employee engagement. That attention needs to be well-directed; those actions need to be well-developed. Let’s look at five links between talent management and employee engagement. These links promise to increase a company’s success in improving both attention and action.
Better Onboarding Link
A powerful onboarding program introduces talented candidates to the business’ engagement culture immediately. The individual can actually engage in onboarding activities — rather than sitting at a desk and thumbing through a binder. A strong program demonstrates employee engagement as the business lifestyle. Engagement is proven to attract active talent. Opportunities to engage from the start heighten talent’s appreciation…and engagement. What company doesn’t truly want an onboarding process that lets new talent “hit the ground running” and then run even faster?
Competitive Advantage Link
Competition for talent is fierce because talent is a leading factor in a company’s competitive advantage. Recruiting, developing and retaining talent are the tools that build competitive advantage. Talent management starts with recruiting. Stronger recruiting efforts contribute to greater talent acquisition. Employee engagement adds to developing and retaining talent. It demonstrates the company’s appreciation of their value to the company — as it builds their value to the company. What company does not look for every possible way to gain advantage over their competition?
Performance Improvement Link
Talent joins a company appreciating the company and its product. As talent engages more fully in company operations, assignments, projects, that appreciation grows. The greater the appreciation, the greater one’s commitment to performing with quality. An employee — especially a “talent employee” — who has the opportunity to perform in ways which she/he sees as valuable consistently seeks to improve that performance. What company does not want to start with talented employees and then enjoy seeing them improve on their talent?
Customer Satisfaction Link
Customers naturally prefer to experience quality product and quality service. Research says it is the people with whom customers interact that determine the customer’s opinion of that quality. Talent management looks for quality candidates. Employee engagement turns up that quality. Successful attraction and recruitment combine for the first step. Once talent is hired, employee engagement strategies increase communication and commitment. These are critical characteristics that satisfy customers. What company doesn’t want satisfied customers? What company doesn’t rely on its employees to generate such satisfaction?
Reduced Turnover, Increased Retention Link
If intense effort is made to hire talent, equally intense effort should be expended to retain talent. Employee engagement is a specific element of talent management insofar as it boosts a company’s ability to hold on to talented employees. People stay with companies they value. The more an employee is allowed and encouraged to engage in job, team, and company efforts, the more she sees the value. People stay with managers they trust. The more managers and employees engage in continuous communication about expectation, the more trust develops in their relationship. People stay with companies that offer opportunities for personal, even professional growth. The more your company provides such opportunities — training, mentoring/coaching, community involvement — the more growth the employee witnesses. What company doesn’t want quality talent to stick around?
(About the Author: As an Employee Engagement and Performance Improvement expert, Tim Wright has worked with businesses and national associations of all sizes. His company, Wright Results, offers proven strategies and techniques to help businesses increase employee engagement, improve personnel performance and build a strong business culture by focusing on performance management from the C.O.R.E. For more information, visit www.wrightresults.com or connect with Tim here: firstname.lastname@example.org)