Creating a Talent Management Framework

Talent management involves many moving parts and processes to ensure an organization’s people operations are as effective as possible. In many cases, the various processes within talent management—such as talent acquisition, onboarding, and learning and development—operate in silos. But the most successful strategies include a comprehensive view of the entire worker lifecycle by leveraging a talent management framework.

Table of contents:

What is a talent management framework?

Talent management frameworks are the proactive plans, processes, and resources organizations have in place to effectively execute their talent management strategies. The best talent management frameworks focus on supporting both overall business goals and an engaging worker experience.

The framework serves as a blueprint to map out all plans and activities related to the entire worker lifecycle, including but not limited to workforce planning, talent acquisition, compensation and rewards, learning and development, performance management, and succession planning.

Related: How To Create a Talent Management Strategy

Why you need an effective talent management framework

The right talent management framework can help set up human resources and talent management for long-term success. Without a framework in place, measuring the effectiveness of talent management efforts, and identifying opportunities for improvement, can be challenging.

Implementing a coherent talent management framework can help your organization:

  • Recruit and retain qualified workers. A successful framework includes a plan to identify and attract qualified workers with in-demand skills, along with steps to retain top performers. Identifying ways to strengthen your employer brand, make the hiring process more efficient, and support team members after they join can help your organization attract and retain qualified workers in today’s competitive market.
  • Enhance company culture. Any decisions or actions in your talent management framework should tie back to your company culture, which includes your organization’s shared missions, values, goals, and behaviors. In doing so, your team can attract and retain workers who align with and are motivated by your mission and vision, which will help strengthen culture over time.
  • Engage team members. With the right strategy and framework, your organization can take an ongoing approach to engaging team members. This might include distributing surveys to identify areas for improvement and what’s driving engagement. Another option is hosting town hall meetings for workers to give feedback and ask questions about the organization.
  • Improve training and development. A key way to engage workers is to offer opportunities for training and development. As in-demand skills evolve, including team member development as a core component of your talent management framework can help you build workers’ skills and drive improved business outcomes as a result. Doing so can also help workers grow in their careers and feel more valued by your organization.
  • Improve organizational performance. People are critical to the success of any company and having a detailed, measurable talent management framework in place can help ensure you have qualified team members in the right roles. As a result, this will better position your organization to achieve overall business goals.

Related: What Is Talent Management? All You Need to Know

What to consider when establishing a talent management framework

A recent survey from Gartner found that a poor talent strategy is the top emerging risk worrying organizations. An intentional talent management framework can help mitigate this risk by ensuring your talent strategy is as efficient as possible.

As you kick off the process to establish a talent management framework—or improve the one you already have in place—consider pulling together a list of questions that your team can address to set your framework up for success.

Questions can include, but are not limited to:

  • What are the overall business goals?
  • How can a talent management framework help achieve overall business goals?  
  • What are the high-level goals of the framework?
  • What’s working with current talent efforts and what can be improved?
  • What’s the overall talent management budget?
  • How can the framework support worker engagement, well-being, and retention?
  • How will the organization measure the success of the talent management framework?

Related: Global Talent Management: Key Elements, Strategies, and More

How to develop a talent management framework

The initial process to develop a talent management framework requires thoughtful planning and research. Once in place, continually evolving and improving the framework is just as important.

1. Identify the purpose of the talent management framework

A successful talent management framework should align with an organization’s overall business strategy and objectives. This involves close partnership between your human resources and talent management teams, along with business leaders across the organization. Too often, talent strategies are developed in siloes, which can make it challenging for the broader organization to understand the value down the road.

In the early stages of developing your talent management framework, meet with your organization’s leadership team and decision makers across departments to receive their input and buy-in on what a successful talent management framework should look like.

2. Define goals and objectives

When discussing the purpose of the framework, identifying overall goals and objectives is a critical piece of the process. In partnership with decision makers across the organization, set talent management goals that support both short- and long- term business priorities. By collaborating during this stage, measuring success down the road will be easier.

Goals can include, but are not limited to:

  • Reducing hiring time and costs
  • Automating administrative tasks
  • Improving worker engagement scores
  • Developing formal training programs
  • Increasing worker retention

As you build a list of goals and objectives, consider tapping into the SMART framework to ensure goals are specific, measurable, actionable, relevant, and time-bound. For example, a SMART goal might be to decrease hiring time by one week in the next six months.

3. Review current talent management processes

Even in the absence of a formal talent management framework, most organizations have some talent management processes in place. Chances are some of these processes are effective, while others have room for improvement. Take a look at the various processes involved in the entire worker lifecycle to better understand strengths and opportunities to improve.

Talent management processes can include:

  • Recruiting
  • Hiring
  • Onboarding
  • Training and development
  • Compensation and benefits
  • Internal mobility (promotions and lateral moves)
  • Performance management
  • Offboarding

As you review talent management processes, identify specific gaps and needs when it comes to your talent strategy. For example, if your team is experiencing skills gaps, you should work to improve your recruiting and hiring processes. And if your organization lacks a formal training program, consider how to incorporate structured training and development goals into your talent management framework.

4. Update recruitment and talent acquisition processes

Having the right team in place is critical to business success, and recruitment and talent acquisition processes can make or break your organization’s ability to secure top-performing workers. A lengthy or complicated hiring process can cause your organization to lose qualified prospective team members. Inefficient processes also increase the time and money spent on recruitment and talent acquisition.

Consider the following tips to improve your processes:

  • Build a strong employer brand to attract top workers
  • Diversify your candidate sourcing channels to expand your talent pool
  • Embrace talent assessment tools to screen out unqualified candidates
  • Implement talent management technology to automate hiring steps
  • Streamline candidate communication each step of the way

To ensure your recruitment and talent acquisition processes are as efficient as possible, consider tapping into outside expertise. Talented independent recruitment professionals are available on Upwork to evaluate your current processes, outline best practices for improvement based on their prior experience, identify and implement the right technologies, and more. Leveraging an experienced independent professional can help your team reduce fixed operational costs and kick off the engagement within a matter of days.

5. Standardize compensation and benefits

Offering fair and competitive compensation and benefits can help your organization attract qualified workers. In addition to base salary, comprehensive worker benefits can include paid time off, parental leave, flexible scheduling, healthcare coverage, training stipends, and retirement benefits, to name a few.

If your organization has a global, distributed workforce, you likely need to consider differentiating benefits depending on a worker’s location. For example, competitive wages and national holidays vary by location, and the U.S. has employer-sponsored health insurance while many other countries offer universal healthcare or other options.

Related: The Cost of Hiring an Employee: Explanation and Formula  

6. Develop team members

Offering workers ongoing opportunities for training and development is key to engagement and retention. In fact, according to a study from Gallup and Amazon, 71% of U.S. workers indicated that learning new skills increases their job satisfaction, and 61% said they will stay at companies that invest in their training and development.

Worker development begins with initial onboarding, which helps ensure team members have the resources and knowledge to be set up for success. Your organization can also offer other opportunities for development throughout a worker’s time on your team, such as on-demand courses, training sessions, skills assessments, stipends for professional development, defined career paths, performance reviews, and coaching sessions.

Keep in mind, formalized career paths and performance reviews are intended for full-time, in-house team members, while independent professionals receive feedback based on their completed milestones and projects.

Related: The Most Effective Talent Development Strategies

7. Plan for succession

Effective succession planning requires both supporting workers so they can make successful career transitions and having a plan in place to fill roles when team members transition.

By taking a proactive, ongoing approach to developing team members, your organization can more efficiently identify and fill any skills gaps you may have. As a result, your team will be in a better position for succession planning, whether a role needs to be backfilled because a worker moved to a new position within the company or left the organization.

8. Continually review performance

Measuring what’s working and what’s not with your talent management framework can help your team drive continuous improvements. Regularly tracking the same metrics can also help your HR and talent management team provide stakeholders across the business with visibility and transparency into overall framework success.

To support a successful talent management strategy or framework, many organizations leverage technology such as an applicant tracking system (ATS), talent management platform, or human resources information system (HRIS), many of which include integrated metrics to track performance.

Metrics to track include, but are not limited to:

  • Time and cost to hire
  • Cost per candidate sourcing channel
  • Worker engagement and satisfaction
  • Retention rate
  • Turnover rate
  • Training costs and ROI

Related: The Top Talent Management Software for HR

Get expert help establishing your talent management framework

An effective talent management framework can help your organization attract, develop, and retain qualified workers to drive business success. Creating and implementing the framework is an in-depth process. Engaging an outside expert can be beneficial to ensure the framework is rolled out efficiently and to avoid taking existing team members away from their day-to-day priorities.

Access skilled independent professionals on Upwork through Project Catalog™. Pre-defined projects and one-on-one consultations are available to meet your team’s needs, whether this means developing a talent management framework or completing other high-priority projects across a variety of skills and categories. In a few clicks, you can book a consultation or select a fixed-price project and start working with an expert right away.

Set your team up for long-term success with an impactful talent management framework—browse available HR consulting services on Project Catalog and kick off the process today.

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Author Spotlight

Creating a Talent Management Framework
Beth Kempton
Content Writer

Beth Kempton is a B2B writer with a passion for storytelling and more than a decade of content marketing experience. She specializes in writing engaging long-form content, including blog posts, thought leadership pieces, SEO articles, case studies, ebooks and guides, for HR technology and B2B SaaS companies. In her free time, you can find Beth reading or running.

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