Create a Talent Planning Process

Talent management isn’t always the forethought of an organization’s planning efforts. However, talent planning should be a process as critical as a company’s annual budget planning cycle. In a recent article from, authors Dave DeFilippo and Jessica Baker say that when considering your organization’s talent planning, start with the business review. Talent management planning should be a key element in planning a company’s human capital requirements.

During the business review, senior leaders should identify business goals, critical challenges and the talent and skills that will be needed to address those future business objectives.

In a 2009 survey conducted by Bersin & Associates, titled High Impact Succcession Management, it was found that 36 percent of organizations surveyed have no talent planning process, or they employ processes that only address replacement planning for senior executives. Starting the talent planning process with a business review allows for effective succession planning.

By definition, talent planning is designed to use an organization’s existing capabilities and potential to meet current and future business needs. Properly leveraged, it creates a foundation on which to build and link critical talent management processes, including sourcing, succession management, leadership development and performance management.

In regard to short=term business needs, talent planning focuses on highlighting the effectiveness of current talent. The long-term focus is to promote stability and readiness for movement in each employee. Nurturing development is a good method to engage and retain talent.

The talent planning procedure is  normally made up of a few different elements, including the talent assessment, development training, and tracking progress. These steps help to ensure that talent discussions and action planning are aligned to meet the future needs of the organization.

The first step is the business review. A senior executive should be in charge of this process. It should discuss the annual operating plan with current and expected future state-of-the-business projections. Consider the following questions as a way to frame that discussion:

  • How did we perform over the last annual business cycle? Where did we exceed targets, and where did we fall short of expectations? What were the drivers of those outcomes?
  • What are the current and future critical business challenges? Map out any obstacles to achieving these business goals and ideas that can be utilized to address these issues. Are new product capabilities required, is there a pipeline for research, or are there pressures to reduce costs?

Talent assessment is the second step in the talent planning process. In this phase, the short- and long-term business goals are already established. Now talent leaders can efficiently review and evaluate the current state of an organization’s talent. Discussions should now determine what capabilities, experience and skills are currently working within the organization.

The final step is to track progress, which is similar to a regular financial review. Creating a mechanism to track progress is critical to make meaningful progress and embed talent planning as a business process.

This step can range from simple to more robust methods, such as regular roundtable discussions about talent progress or regular progress evaluations. Whether talent planning is annual or semiannual process, the linchpin to effectively track progress is to bring the conversation back to the business review to gauge progress, refine actions and check for any adjustments needed to continue to leverage talent.

With this talent planning process, talent managers have an opportunity to create business focused talent planning to prepare their organizations for victory. To learn more about implementing a talent planning process, read the full article here.

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