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How to create an effective talent management strategy for IT

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Talent management strategy

According to LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends Report 2020, 38% of talent specialists mention ongoing employee training as one of the top five areas, which require improvement. Continuous investment in learning and development is just one of the many elements that every effective talent management strategy should include.

In the following article, we’re going to cover what talent management is, discuss some talent management techniques, as well as share a few examples of how different organizations approach this process.

What is talent management?

Talent management is a continuous, strategic process that revolves around the stages of the employee lifecycle, from attraction and recruitment all the way to employment termination. It’s worth noting that “talent management” refers to all employees, not just the top-performing or high-potential ones, as some might wrongly assume.

In order to effectively manage talent, organizations must have a talent strategy in place.

Talent management strategies

Source: Unsplash

What is a talent management strategy?

A talent management strategy is the bulk of actions and plans you put in place to improve the way your organization manages internal talent.

If you’re wondering why it’s important to have a talent management strategy, here are some of the top benefits:

  • it will help you focus your hiring on the best fitting candidates,
  • it will boost your employee satisfaction and engagement levels,
  • you’ll be able to create the right career paths for your existing employees and retain them for longer,
  • it will help you ensure that you don’t have any skills gaps in your team.

Now that we know how talent management and talent strategy are defined, let’s take a look at some of the top talent management activities.

Talent management – a step-by-step guide

Below is a list of the recommended steps you should follow when building your talent management framework.

Understand your organizational goals

Before you work on your employee engagement or career development program, it’s absolutely crucial that you recognize your organization’s objectives. Needless to say, your talent management strategy needs to reflect and support the business’s long-term goals. Therefore, schedule a meeting with your C-suite executives and team leaders, and agree on where you’d all like to see your organization in the coming years.

If, for instance, your company wants to become a market leader in machine learning, you will need to ensure that your team has the required skill set. This means you’ll need to prioritize all talent development, hiring, and career path activities accordingly.

Get internal buy-in from the C-suite

Simply put, employees look up to leadership. If they see that their direct managers and C-level executives care about talent management, they themselves will also feel more motivated.

Source: Unsplash

On the flip side, nothing will hinder your HR team’s talent development efforts more than leaders who are detached from career development initiatives. They need to understand why you’re investing time and resources into it in the first place.

Create an IT skills inventory

With company objectives clearly laid out, it’s time to identify your team’s current skill set. To create career paths that support your business and your employees’ career objectives, run a skills audit on a per-team and per-employee level. To make the most of this process, we recommend using a competency management tool like TalentBoost.

Source: TalentBoost

Here are the two steps you’ll need to take to create your skills inventory:

Step 1: Organize 1:1 meetings with your IT team members

During the meeting, ask your employees about their long-term career objectives. Also, ask them to evaluate their soft skills (for example, to sense whether they’re ‘leadership material’), and discuss career path development ideas. Write down your insights for each employee.

Step 2: Run work sample coding tests

Work sample coding tests are a great way to objectively assess your employees’ tech skills. Use a solution like TalentScore, which features automated scoring and lets you evaluate your team’s current competencies in an unbiased manner. For instance, if one of your iOS developers revealed during your 1:1 meeting that they have an intermediate knowledge of React Native, a TalentScore test will be able to verify whether it’s true.

Source: TalentBoost

Decide how to fill skills gaps

Use the findings from the skills inventory to decide how to fill your skill gaps: internally or  externally, i.e., through recruitment. If you notice an employee who shows good learning potential, and you feel they might be able to quickly acquire new competencies, then you can decide to put them through training. However, just because someone has potential to pick up the skills you need, doesn’t mean they have the right mindset or the willingness to do so.

That’s why it’s worth having regular conversations with employees regarding their future career plans.

Alternatively, if you can’t fill up skill gaps internally due to the lack of the right candidates, or you think it might take too long to train them, you can always seek talent externally. Whichever path you choose, it’s necessary to consider both options. Filling skill gaps internally, where possible, will save you a lot of time and money on training and recruitment. Especially, as the costs of making a wrong hiring decision can be quite high, and reach up to $32,000.

Evaluate your training

If you decided to put some of your employees through training in order to fill existing skill gaps, then it’s recommended that you conduct a training evaluation. Check whether the training brought anticipated results – did the employees acquire the desired skills? Again, you can use skills assessment tests to verify it.

For example, let’s assume that your Python developer went through training to pick up Ruby. You can use TalentScore to evaluate how their know-how changed after attending training. Is the difference in their abilities significant, or barely noticeable? You can also compare their score with other employees who attended the same course to have a more objective opinion about the training’s effectiveness.

Now that we’ve discussed the main areas you should include in your talent management strategy template, it’s time to draw inspiration from a few major companies.

Talent management strategy examples

The University of California

The University of California is the world’s leading public research university system, including 10 campuses with over 273,000 students and nearly 23,000 faculty members. They’re a great talent management strategy example.

Every part of their talent management framework has a mission and strategic themes assigned to it; including benefit programs and strategies, compensation programs and strategy, employee retention and more. The University’s talent management strategy fully supports organizational goals, such as using compensation as a competitive tool for driving organizational results.

Danone in China

Danone is a world-leading food company founded in Barcelona and based in Paris. Their Chinese branch has introduced a Talent Management Program, called Bo Le. Thanks to it, they were able to change their HR structure and maintain consistency in attracting, developing and keeping the young Chinese citizens in China for potential employment.

Source: Danone China

The primary aim of the program was to increase the number of potential candidates in their talent pool. The initiative has proven very effective. It let the brand:

  • Attract the best talent and retain their current employees,
  • Put in place a process which allowed for continuous and collaborative flow of talent,
  • Adapt the program to be launched in other Asian markets.

Loews Hotels

Loews Hotels is an American luxury hospitality company that owns and manages 28 hotels in the US and Canada.

Source: Loews Hotels

Loews is very transparent when it comes to its talent development strategy. The whole team is focused on reaching the same goals, and in order to succeed, they follow various modules like employee performance and development. Their approach seems to be working, as they have moved from the 5th to the 2nd place in terms of employee satisfaction levels.


In order to support your organization’s long-term business objectives, it’s absolutely critical that you implement a talent management strategy. Among others, it allows you to boost staff retention, improve employee satisfaction and engagement rates, optimize your recruitment costs, and create personalized career paths.

However, if you want to make sure that your talent development strategy is effective, you must identify and fill any skills gaps in your team. Here’s where DevSkiller’s TalentBoost and TalentScore come into play as your integrated talent management solution.

Use TalentScore to objectively and automatically assess your team’s tech skills. Next, use your findings to create a competency map in TalentBoost. As a result, you’ll get a bird’s eye view of what your current team is capable of, which skills they can quickly acquire, and which competencies you’ll need to fill through external hiring.

Sounds interesting? Reach out or request a demo!

Image credit: Pexels

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