As with previous years, 2023 sees skills-based talent management as a key focus area for L&D, taking third place in the Global Sentiment Survey (up from position #6 last year). Upskilling and employee retention are also key priorities for L&D leaders in Linkedin’s Workplace Learning report. L&D leaders are realising that agility requires upskilling the workforce by offering opportunities for career development and internal mobility at the individual level.
So what would we know about talent management this year?
What is talent management?
The CIPD defines the meaning of talent management as seeking to “attract, identify, develop, engage, retain and deploy individuals who are considered particularly valuable to an organisation. To be effective, it needs to align with the business goals and strategic objectives.” This final point is particularly pertinent this year, with ‘aligning learning programs to business goals’ as the top priority in Linkedin’s report. By moving closer to the business, L&D becomes more integrated with its objectives and can develop solutions that are in alignment from the outset, rather than simply taking a reactionary approach.
In Europe especially, research by Fosway has revealed that ‘talent’ does not necessarily mean ‘all staff’, as it often does in the US. Instead, it means “a specially selected subset of executives and senior leaders, high performers, graduate in-takes and fast-track specialist roles, which could be referred to as ‘critical talent’.”
However, failing to include L&D in the wider talent strategy, can lead to a lack of cohesion between the L&D and HR departments, and with wider business goals. This can adversely affect the growth and development of employees, a lack of up-to-date skills in the workforce and increased hiring costs to replace those who have left for better opportunities.
The emergence of new talent roles
The good news is that learning professionals are breaking down traditional silos and spending more time with their HR chief and other executives. Organisations see L&D and HR as two aspects of the skills acquisition and talent strategy.
This has resulted in the emergence of new roles incorporating the two, including:
- People manager
- Talent management specialist
- Talent manager
- Talent director
- Head of learning and talent
Organisations within the healthcare sector in particular, such as our partners Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW) Leadership, have seen a greater focus on talent management to achieve strategic objectives. Job roles such as ‘Head of Resourcing and Talent’ and ‘Director of Leadership and Succession’ within the healthcare sector reflect the growing conversion between HR, talent and L&D roles.
Why is learning and development so important to the talent strategy?
The Work Institute identified 52 different reasons for leaving a company. In their 2022 Mid-Year Employee Retention Report, career reasons remained the top category for why employees leave their job. It also noted that the War for Talent is back and more challenging than ever. With over 10 million open jobs, it’s no surprise to see that 93% of organisations are concerned about employee retention.
Learning and development is a core enabler for the talent management strategy. Competency profiles within the organisation help to map current competencies and can be compared against success profiles to identify those that need to be developed to fulfil critical roles. If you’re not sure where to start with this, Thinqi’s learning system is equipped with the talent management functionality you need to integrate this into your process and start creating pipelines of critical talent.
It’s been encouraging to see greater budgets being allocated to L&D to help the workforce adapt and upskill for changing models of working. With hybrid and remote working now commonplace, there’s a continued expectation that the learning functions will play a key part in influencing how the workforce adapts during times of change through upskilling and offering individual pathways for career development.
Learning management systems vs talent management systems
In our blog post, ‘LMS vs LXP: Which one should you choose?’, we discussed the key differences between the learning management system (LMS) and the learning experience (LXP). But do you also need to consider a talent management system (TMS)?
It all gets quite complicated quickly.
Today, developments in learning technologies reflect the increased demand for a joined-up talent management process between HR, L&D and the wider business. Fosway sheds light on how this wider, talent-oriented view is becoming “a consistent feature of organisations’ buying decisions behind their LMS and other learning systems.”
In response to these emerging needs, we’ve developed the Thinqi learning system to help you clearly map out career development pathways based on current skills and competencies. For example:
- You could assign mandatory onboarding training initially, but later create more personalised training recommendations within individual learning pathways based on career ambitions.
- To do this, current competencies can be recorded and evaluated against a success profile for an aspired role.
- Using reporting functionality to identify gaps, a learning pathway can be designed to develop these skills and competencies in order for the individual to fulfil that role.
- 360 evaluations can also be implemented as part of this process to ensure a good level of feedback and support is maintained throughout.
- Succession planning ensures skills gaps are addressed and pipelines of talent are created in readiness to fill critical roles when needed.
- This can all be supplemented with a coaching dynamic within the system to ensure learners are continuously supported throughout self-directed and remote learning journeys.
No longer do you painstakingly need to compare learning systems against talent management systems if you need elements of both – integrated systems like Thinqi enable you to focus on talent without compromising on learning management or learner experience.
As organisations focus on talent management and developing the existing workforce, L&D is relied upon to provide skill-building paths and resources, creating a pipeline of internal talent to match opportunities.
To find out more about how you can support talent management with L&D, we’ve created an easy-to-follow free expert guide to help.
In our latest series on talent management, we at Thinqi are here to help you feel equipped and energised to lead the way to create a skilled workforce of tomorrow that has learning embedded firmly in organisational culture.