My New Year's resolution for HR: Effective talent management

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Strategic capability assessment, market engagement and cultural integration are key steps

My New Year’s resolution is to recruit the best people for our business. This sounds simple and a fairly basic requirement but in a changing business landscape we need to continually review what talent and capability we need and then how we attract and engage it.

I see four major steps in this process.

  • Strategic capability assessment
  • Review employer branding
  • Market engagement
  • Cultural integration

It starts by ensuring that the company strategy includes an aligned assessment of the capabilities and skills required to deliver the strategy over the short, medium and long term. HR needs to position itself at the core of the strategy development process, challenging the business and asking critical questions on what skills will be required to support a new product line or any shift in business focus. It is worth bearing in mind that there is no status quo; as the market digitises, the way organisations operate will change so even companies who maintain a consistent market or product approach will need to change how they operate and will therefore need new skills and capabilities to stay competitive.

Secondly, the strategy and capability assessment should be used to inform the approach to employer brand which will be at the core of any future recruitment. In the ICT industry we need to ensure that our employer brand constantly evolves to reflect the company strategy but also the mega trends affecting our industry (cyber security, big data, internet of things). This will ensure that the brand remains current and relevant in the market, as new roles in exciting and innovative areas may be highly sought after and in order to compete, businesses need to find ways to market themselves as the leading employer.

Next, the business needs to consider all the talent available and therefore may need to rethink how it engages with the market, how it opens up new and more diverse talent pools and then what the most appropriate engagement model is. This will include reviewing how the business sources the new skills and capabilities and the mix of permanent recruitment, contract workforce and third party agreements.

It will be especially important to examine any legacy processes or restrictions that a business has in terms of quotas or targets relating to flexible working. If the new skills and capabilities are only available via third parties or in the contract market then businesses need to ensure that they put no boundaries on recruitment. This is especially key for the HR department or the recruitment team who should be positioning themselves as partners or enablers to the business and therefore be prepared to change and adapt.

Finally, as the business starts to engage different resources in new ways it needs to consider the culture fit and the integration into the business, especially how technology can be used to aid cross-border and flexible working practices. The culture of the organisation should inform the employer brand (and vice versa).

If an organisation is investing in new skills and capabilities then the dynamic of the workforce will change and the business needs to prepare for that by providing the right level of employee engagement, communication and support to ensure the wellbeing of its workforce and that both new and established team members feel a clear affinity to the brand and the business, understand and are happy to drive the required changes to the business model. HR can certainly be the differentiator in this process.

Jake Attfield is UK HR director of T-Systems

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