A talent management model vs strategic workforce planning

By Robert Half on 4th May 2020

Are you one of the 41% of business leaders who are concerned about staff retention and acquisition over the next 12 months? The low unemployment rate and lack of qualified talent in the hiring market means staff retention strategies are front of mind for businesses at present.

When planning how to staff your business, there are two main approaches you can take: a talent management model or strategic workforce planning. Both can help you build your workforce with skilled talent and increase staff retention, but both use very different tactics.

Here are the benefits of talent management and strategic workforce planning, what the difference is between the two, and which is best for you and your business.

What is talent management?

As the name suggests, the talent management model focuses on managing talent by ensuring they have the resources and support they need to remain engaged at work and to progress within the company.

Examples of talent management support can include thorough staff on-boarding, training and development initiatives, and incentives. The goal of the talent management model is to attract and retain professionals by supporting them and providing for them.

What are the benefits of talent management?

  • More legacy talent in your business
    One of the main benefits of talent management is staff retention. Legacy talent provides a solid knowledge base for upskilling/skill sharing and provides a valuable support system for new employees. It’s also incredibly cost-effective and can add clout to your employer branding.
  • Your employees work happy
    When you use a talent management model to provide employees with everything they need to grow and develop within the business, you are much more likely to see an uptick in engagement and workplace morale.
  • Better productivity
    One of the benefits of talent management is increased productivity from employees, due to the enhanced skills and increased motivation fostered by extra support.

What is strategic workforce planning?

Strategic workforce planning is the process of looking to the future to predict business hiring needs and the training needs of employees. It’s a strategy that relies on industry trends, data, and statistics to accurately predict the business’ upcoming staffing needs.

Strategic workforce planning isn’t simply focussed on finding new talent, it can also be used as an effective staff retention strategy by helping to identify the skills that existing staff may need to help fuel the intended trajectory of the business.

What are the benefits of strategic workforce planning?

  • Relies on hard evidence
    Strategic workforce planning relies on data, trend analysis and statistics to help build and maintain a robust team. Because of this, it can be considered a very effective method of futureproofing a workforce.
  • Staff feel supported
    By ensuring that staff are trained in the correct areas and that requisite talent is always available, employees are less likely to experience frustration or burnout caused by not having the resources they need to perform effectively.
  • Proactive not reactive
    This is a forward-looking approach which meets the needs of the business in a proactive way. Growth and initiatives are less likely to be hindered as staffing resources are — in theory — always ready and waiting ahead of time.

A talent management model vs strategic workforce planning: which is best for you?

Both workforce planning and the talent management model are effective staff retention strategies and can also help your business attract qualified talent. Ultimately, your choice of approach should depend on the values of the business. Many employers also choose to use both approaches in tandem to create a forward-thinking, people-first approach.

You can look ahead to find out which skills and training your employees may value in the near future by downloading the Robert Half 2020 Salary Guide for free. You can also add more qualified talent to your ranks by submitting a vacancy or by contacting the Robert Half team.

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