Managing Talent

Our biggest aim when advertising for job vacancies is to have as many talents apply as recruiters

Euden Koirala

Talent management is a buzzword in organizations today, especially human resource planners. Human resource planning involves a wide range of HR procedures such as selection process during recruitment, onboarding of new staff, succession planning, performance management, team structure and team dynamics management, human resource development planning including training, mentoring and coaching, employee engagement and retention. These processes are essential for both the employer and employee, involving various functions and thorough planning. Talent management always considers the contribution and effectiveness of the job holders to the organization’s goals and objectives. In short, talent management capitalizes on employees and helps maximize their value.

For today, let’s emphasize recruitment and the onboarding approach, as this is where it all begins! It is imperative to ensure a thorough recruitment process, starting with the job advertisement itself. Today some organizations make job announcements most innovatively and attractively. Talent attracts talent – is what I believe in. A few months ago, and interestingly announced job advertisement caught my eyes. Usually, job advertisements mention ‘desirable qualities’ for the position holder. But for this particular vacancy announcement, it was “how to really knock our socks off….” I felt that was stimulating. The advertisement mentioned the section of ‘required experience’ as “what it will take to catch our eyes”, and this was a very senior position being recruited, mind you! The full job description of that position was communicated differently, making me feel like this seemed an exciting organization to work with.

When advertising jobs, our most significant intention is to have as many talents apply as recruiters. A large pool of applicants gives us a vast poll to identify potential candidates to choose from (which is desired). We often complain that we do not receive quality applicants to match the vacant position… but think again… how much effort do we make to attract the potential talents to apply for the job? Food for thought for all you recruiters reading this.

Next comes the selection process. The right experts in the interview panel and the panellists should identify priority areas for that position. Every position is different, this we all agree. However, we need to bear in mind that each job’s weightage of skills and competencies differ (must differ!). For example, A senior position may require more significant weightage on leadership and people management qualities than technical expertise and writing skills for a mid-level management position. Each interviewing panellist should discuss assessment areas in detail and agree with the decision before the interview.

While I agree that it is challenging to identify candidates with outstanding leadership and people management skills, it is impossible. Planning out interview questions, keeping open-ended and situational questions that further benefit the panel in identifying the individual’s values and attitudes, supporting panellists in finding these skills to a large extent, and other assessments and reference checks. The goal is to have the right person on board – ‘Right person Right place’ as they call it.

How to conduct an interview? This is another critical focus area. Asking the right questions begins with first identifying the right questions in every interview. Thus, we can see that selecting interview panels for each recruitment is of core importance – the primary point. The hiring manager must identify the interview panel thoroughly, considering the weightage of areas for assessment. For example, when recruiting a branch manager in a bank, skills required for the position could be assessed with the following weightage shown in the chart below. The bank manager is a senior position in the team; leadership holds utmost importance, followed by people managing skills. These are skills that the organization cannot instil and has to come with the individual. However, training and mentoring can compensate for other requirements like presentation skills and experience in the banking sector.

Skill Test

(Note: This is only an example and could differ based on the size of the branch, organization etc.)

The next important step is ‘onboarding’ the talent, which is inducting new employees into the organization and to their role. Introduction of the individual to the other employees and introduction of the organization and its practices, policies and culture to the employee – is the first step to onboarding. A thorough induction plan needs to be planned, ensuring the individual comprehends their role and responsibility and the organization and other functions. The individual must be clear on their core and their cross-cutting responsibilities.

Once onboard, identifying a clear list of priorities and setting periodic objectives for the probation period supports the individual to understand their goals and expected contribution clearly. For these, the investment of time from the line manager or team leader is vital. The line manager should know that the investment of their time in the initial onboarding phase of their team members leads the staff to strive for the team’s collective goals.

To sum up, talent management starts before even getting an employee on board! An organization that understands the criticality of talent management and its benefits towards the employer and employee strategically plans these processes from the very beginning, even before recruitment begins !. This is what managing talent is all about!

Koirala is Head of People & Organisational Development at WaterAid Nepal.

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