Talent planning: Strategies and best practices for success

Talent planning strategies practices success
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In the business world, talent breeds success. As such, your organization’s success largely depends on your talent strategy. This means talent planning is essential if you want your company to achieve its goals.

Many factors, like internal recruitment, rewards, retention, and succession planning, contribute to an excellent talent planning process. It’s never easy to ensure your business has the right talent in the correct roles, but an optimized talent planning process can help you prepare to appoint talent internally.

Are you finding it challenging to create a talent planning strategy? Find the best practices and strategies for successful talent planning in this article.

Talent planning definition: What is talent planning in HR?

Talent planning is a staff management process that organizations use to identify vacancies that need filling, anticipate new responsibilities, hire suitable candidates internally, help new hires develop their skills, and improve talent retention.

Typically, a talent plan considers the cost, management, and co-ordination of activities that lead to workforce development. A good talent plan is comprehensive and focuses on what your workforce needs now and in the future.

Each organization’s talent planning methods align with its unique business goals.

Talent is vital if you seek to build and maintain a successful business. Around 60% of middle-market executives now place talent planning among their top priorities. But what are the main objectives of talent planning?

What are the objectives of the talent planning process?

Objectives talent planning process

Knowing what talent is currently missing in your organization simply isn’t enough; it’s important to consider your future hiring requirements and build a plan in advance.

Here are four objectives you should aim to complete with your talent planning process.

1. Align your business strategy with talent planning

You’ll need to go through several stages when aligning your business strategy with your talent planning goals. Remember to determine the organization’s crucial positions and its current and potential skills gaps before discussing your talent management approach in each quarterly business meeting.

2. Build the correct processes to plan for talent management

To build the correct processes for talent management, ensure that you make a succession plan for the critical roles in the company, expand your talent pool within the organization, plan your talent’s career paths, note the retirement dates of your top talent, and monitor employee turnover to stay aware of any trends or risks.

3. Lead the talent planning process 

When leading the talent planning process, make sure senior leaders have the required knowledge about potential talent, conduct truthful and open talent review discussions, and ensure executives participate in the talent planning process.

4. Engage your organization in the talent planning process

Engaging your organization in the talent planning process involves identifying top performers, ensuring you reward them with appropriate bonuses or perks, and creating mentoring programs to ensure your talent can progress.

What is the importance of talent planning?

The primary benefit of talent planning is that it helps you build your workforce into a team that excels. This means your employees develop in an atmosphere of collaboration, and your new recruits grow once they join you.

A significant part of talent planning is identifying and bridging skills gaps. As such, a good talent plan ensures that your organization always has enough skills to thrive. By eliminating skills gaps, you can focus on driving the company’s success.

Talent planning also prepares your organization for the future. This includes the changes, obstacles, and opportunities that appear over time. Simply put, a talent plan forms part of the foundation for your company’s success.

What are the steps to effective talent planning?

steps to effective talent planning

Effective talent planning involves finding ways to develop your employees and new hires. This means you need to have a plan in place for your employees even before they apply for the post.

Here are the six steps to effective talent planning:

Step 1: Define your company’s goals

The first step to building an effective talent planning strategy is to define your business goals. This gives you a picture of what you want and paves the way toward achieving those goals.

Step 2: Create and analyze your hiring plan

Your hiring plan should lay out budget planning, the duration of the recruitment process, and your recruitment strategy. On average, the cost of hiring a new employee is $4,700. However, this cost varies with the organization’s hiring plan.

A hiring plan specifies not just the cost of recruitment but also the number and quality of applications your company needs.

Step 3: Draft a job description that attracts talent

Your job description plays a critical role in the number and quality of applications you get. Therefore, you must draft a clear and compelling job description that attracts the best talent among potential applicants.

To make this step easier, consider using a job description template.

Step 4: Assess the talent you’ve attracted

You can assess the talent you attract using pre-employment assessments and interviews. Pre-employment assessments let you evaluate each candidate’s skill, experience, and personality. They usually come after applicants initially apply but before interviews.

Interviews let you have a one-on-one experience with the candidate. They enable you to examine the candidate’s personality and reaction to various situations.

Step 5: Secure and develop new talent

After the assessment, the next step is to offer successful candidates the post. Once you’ve secured the new talent, you must draft a plan to develop them.

To develop talent, you must provide your employees with learning and development opportunities. You can also offer them mentorship from leaders in your organization.

Step 6: Engage and retain the talent

You should always let your employees voice their opinions and share their ideas. This not only boosts workforce collaboration but also helps improve their communication and interaction skills.

More engaged employees stay with your business for longer. You can also invest in strategies to retain talent in your company.

What are the main talent planning tools?

Talent planning may seem overwhelming, but several types of talent planning tools can assist you. Three top talent planning tools you can integrate into the process are skills-testing platforms, workforce planning tools, and learning management systems.

Skills-testing platforms 

Skills-testing platform tools like TestGorilla make it simpler to identify your current employees’ strengths. These excellent talent planning tools can contribute to your talent development or reskilling so that you can plan for changes to your organizational structure. 

For instance, you may need to appoint a new marketing manager after adding a marketing department to your company.

In that case, you may use skills tests such as a Technical SEO test via skills-testing platforms to assess your existing talent’s SEO skills. You can then reskill and upskill your employee depending on their strengths and weaknesses.

Workforce planning tools

Although some businesses use spreadsheets to handle talent management, many use workforce planning software to simplify talent planning. Workforce planning tools can help you automate manual data entry tasks related to talent management in real time.

With workforce planning tools, you can view critical talent planning metrics and determine the number of employees your organization needs for each department.

This software can also give you insight into how you should allocate team members for each project or shift to ensure those with the ideal skills are completing the right tasks. 

Learning management systems

Whether you need to create career development plans or build training sessions, learning management systems are useful for three other phases of talent management: internal recruitment, onboarding, and succession planning.

Integrating a learning management system into your talent planning process can help you organize learning processes, assist current team members with career development, and manage employees’ performance with a single application. 

Talent planning template

One way organizations complete the talent planning process is by implementing a framework of objectives and using a talent planning template.

Below is a template that lists the information you should record if you want to implement the talent planning process and achieve your company’s goals.

Team name: 

Team function: 


Team members:

The goal of the plan:

Requirements to be completed:

Current team member in the role:

Team member to assume the role:

Name of the candidate to meet the role’s requirements

Time assigned to be role-ready

Skills, knowledge, and experience to develop

Use strategic talent planning to achieve your business goals 

Strategic talent planning can be difficult to manage, but plenty of tools are available to make the process easier. Remember, if you want to fill roles internally and review your staff’s knowledge, testing your current employees’ skills is effortless with skills-testing platforms like TestGorilla.

We create tests that point you toward skilled candidates. Our assessments are bias-free, reliable, and highly flexible to meet all your hiring and talent management needs. Additionally, you can use our free talent assessment templates to map your existing talent and identify the best growth opportunities for your team.

Try our platform for free, determine which employees best align with your vacant roles, and begin your talent planning process without stress or hiring biases.

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