Illumiti Innovation Blog

What Is Talent Management and Why Is It Essential?

Date: January 05, 2021
By: Rebecca Murray

Group of peopleAt the onset of the COVID crisis, everything we considered "normal" was upended. Every business, regardless of size and type, was impacted in one way or another, many forced to accept that its talent had to literally leave the building. Businesses were suddenly faced with steering their organizations through unchartered waters, and forced to find new ways of working in an era dictated by a pandemic. While managing their businesses in extreme uncertainty, the pandemic forced human resources professionals to reimagine their personnel practices to build organizational resilience and drive value.

As we look to the future to unleash new ways of working for the long-term, there needs to be a laser focus on well-being, equality, and productivity that can work for both employers and employees long after this crisis ends. From the earliest days, remaining healthy was an absolute priority and keeping workers safe while fostering connectivity and caring in an intensely stressful time. In planning for and implementing the restart, they have been working to maintain morale and productivity for remote workforces while trying to figure out how and when to get folks back into office settings.

How does this impact employee engagement and its role in employee retention? Clearly, things have changed, but the easiest way to facilitate employee engagement during changing times is to incorporate new tools into your organization’s talent management and HR processes and responsibilities.

In this article, I’ll look at how HR can take action in several areas to build a strong and durable talent strategy by examining the concept of Talent Management and why it should have a place in your organization, especially post-COVID.

Defining Talent Management

Talent Management, technically speaking, is a series of processes focused on human capital. It is a means to determine an organization’s needs for human capital and a plan or strategy that works towards meeting the identified needs. In order for such plans to be successful there must be a commitment towards and purpose to an organization’s talent related activities. Talent exercises or processes without commitment or purpose will not lead you towards your human capital goals.

Talent Management – But What Is It Really?

The definition above is all well and good. But what does it really mean? How can I apply it to my organization?

Speaking from the real world, Talent Management is a way to provide structure and employee engagement at each step of the employee life cycle. It is a series of processes providing guidelines around the key activities including: attraction, recruitment, development, retention, motivation, compensation, and termination. In short, we want to only hire employees who are good for our organization. And if an employee is good, we want to make sure they stay at our organization.

Talent Management Life Cycle

What Does Talent Management Offer?

Talent Management offers the opportunity for engagement with employees. And although employee engagement doesn’t solve all retention issues it certainly offers the opportunity to gauge employee satisfaction and to intervene when needed.

Today’s workforce is rapidly evolving. We have five generations of employees working together and each generation brings a set of needs and expectations. There is a strong, competitive market for top talent. Organizations need to recruit high potential employees and grow and develop their existing employees. Employing talent management initiatives such as performance management, career development, and learning opportunities allows organizations to meet the complex challenges of the workplace.

Here are some commonly seen outcomes of adopting Talent Management:

  • Increased employee engagement through self-services and mobile capabilities
  • Ability to assess and track employee performance
  • Identify top performers and those in need of assistance
  • Develop actionable, trackable, and reporting performance improvement and growth plans
  • Offer trainings and track their effectiveness
  • Use employee surveys and feedback tools to increase satisfaction and retention
  • Facilitate collaboration between employees regardless of location

Why Is It Essential?

A Talent Management Strategy is a plan for rolling out and utilizing the components of Talent Management. It will help recruit good talent, grow and develop existing employees, and retain them in our organization. It will also ensure that our key positions are planned for and that we don’t face a shortage of skilled employees. These are important considerations to be aware of because organizational changes such as the ones listed below may require you to act:

  • A large, aging population of the workforce is moving towards retirement
  • On trend, millennials job-hop every 2 to 4 years
  • There is a shortage of skilled employees available
  • Employees who do not feel connected to their organization are more likely to move on
  • It costs money to recruit, train, and develop an employee

For these and similar reasons it is in your organization’s best interest to begin implementing talent processes.

The pandemic has certainly imposed an incredible cost on lives and livelihoods, forcing businesses to literally change overnight. But I’m excited about how we’ve been able to respond and reimagine talent practices as we recover. I strongly believe that an organization’s talent is its strongest currency—businesses have that culture and confidence in technology has enabled us to adapt and tap into building a stronger talent pool even in tremendously tough times.

In my next post, I will further discuss Talent Management—more specifically, SAP's SuccessFactors Learning Management System—and how it can provide your HR team with the tools it needs to boost your organizations business results, productivity, and increase your competitiveness in the market. Stay tuned!


Rebecca Murray, Managing Partner and SAP SuccessFactors Expert, Illumiti HCM 

Rebecca-MurrayRebecca is an experienced Human Experience Management (HXM) consultant who helps clients across the globe implement sustainable global workforce development strategies. As a partner at Illumiti HCM, she specializes in the design and integration of HRIS and talent management solutions to help companies develop, optimize, and maintain high-performing workforces. Combining her specialized knowledge with her love for teaching and learning, Rebecca speaks widely on her experience with global HRIS implementations at conferences and trade shows around the world and teaches Employee Central Classes at the SAP Academy. 


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Rebecca Murray

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