Proper Planning for Productive Employee Engagement

A recent article featured in Talent’s Learning and Development blog profiles the advancement and eventual demotion of Star Trek’s Captain Kirk. Authors John Anderson and Marc Michaelson parallel this famous character with the talent management life cycle.

When a company is forced to address the needs of a star employee who is running out of challenges, that individual is typically promoted to management.

When Captain Kirck was finally demoted from his desk job to again being in charge of the starship Enterprise, his natural talents were able to flourish. Sometimes promotions do not match an employee’s best characteristics or capabilities. How can employees move up the ladder in a graceful way? The talent management life cycle is a solution to the misplacement issue.

Enter the talent management life cycle. This ongoing process deals with employees in a comprehensive, holistic way, beginning with hiring and shifting to career growth and development so both employee and employer fully benefit from their mutual bond.

This life cycle process combines the human element into the business planning and strategy of an organization. Job goals, productivity measurement, and employee engagement are the measurements used in the human element, versus the typical number crunching and statistics utilized in traditional business planning.

Hiring decisions are usually based on budgets. However, staffing needs often arise without fair warning. It’s often too late to recognize the need for a new employee in advance. Therefore, the life cycle must begin before the new hire.

Engage and Develop a Mobile Workforce: Younger workers have made it clear they prize mobility more than fidelity to their employers. In his 2008 book The Trophy Kids Grow Up: How the Millennial Generation Is Shaking Up the Workplace, author Ron Alsop cites a study in which two-thirds of 18- to 28-year-olds said they plan to “surf” from one job to the next.

Positive employee relations can and will have an effect on this attitude. Pensions, generous health benefits and job security have become less guaranteed in the face of global competition. Hence, employees will move from job to job in search of something solid. A goal for management should be to keep employees fully engaged and develop their skills as long as possible.

The article provides insight to a few key elements of the life cycle process. To establish a talent management life cycle process, several elements must be considered:

Organizational plan: Defines employee categories, the specific skill sets and experience levels required for each position.

Recruiting guidelines: These formal guidelines determine when to start the recruiting process for various job types and which hiring sources will be most successful.

Development plan: This ensures each job type has clearly identified objective performance standards and career directions.

Retention plan: This should match reward and recognition systems with individual performance and development plans.

Assessment plan: This ensures each employee is formally and informally assessed periodically throughout each year, comparing all individuals with established standards, behavioral and cultural norms and their peers.

Outplacement plan: This determines when a job type is no longer required and should be eliminated or when it has changed sufficiently that people in those positions need to be reassessed.

Without a feedback system, all of these plans are useless. Employee input throughout the life cycle is necessary to stay relevant. Productive engagement is a great retention tactic, despite the trend of employees to shift from job to job. Employers should be active partners with new and existing employees to make sure their work is satisfactory and still yet challenging.

To read more about tactics and planning procedures to better prepare your employees, click here for the full article.

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