7 Successful Talent Strategy Examples

7 Successful Talent Strategy Examples

Finding workers with the right skill sets, knowledge, and experience can be challenging. And once you find them, you have to know how to motivate and retain them.

As more baby boomers retire, many millennials and Gen Zers are entering the labor market with a different set of values and expectations than companies are used to. Apart from good compensation, this new class of employees values flexibility, transparency, diversity, and inclusivity.

Research shows that, while millennials and Gen Zers feel more loyalty to companies than they did a year ago, many are still willing to leave their jobs even without another job lined up. So, companies need a solid talent management strategy to hire and manage employees well.

A talent strategy is a systematic approach to optimizing employee performance and satisfaction—and includes hiring, onboarding, training and development, and compensation.

Read on about how top companies like Google, Netflix, and Amazon have boosted the employee experience by embracing effective talent strategies.

What is a talent strategy?

Your talent strategy is your company’s approach to identifying gaps in your workforce, hiring employees to fill positions, training and developing their skills, and retaining them to help you accomplish business goals.

A good talent management strategy should align with organizational objectives, offer a good value proposition to employees, and support unbiased hiring approaches. It should also outline the company’s plan to train and develop staff, as well as the metrics and analytics that will be used to improve employee performance.

Having a talent strategy is essential for business success and can help you in the following activities:

  • Attract top talent. An effective talent acquisition strategy makes it easier to find and hire employees with needed competencies, skills, and knowledge, as well as attitudes and values that align with your organization.
  • Assess employees. The right talent strategy enables you to evaluate employees’ skills and knowledge more effectively. You can use this information to determine if they need training and whether the potential hires fit your workforce.
  • Create effective learning and development programs. With an effective talent strategy, you can determine when employees need training to keep up with different trends and changes in the operating environment. In return, your organization becomes more agile—able to respond and take quick advantage of emerging situations.
  • Increase employee retention. Workers are likely to exit an organization if unsatisfied with the work environment. Having a talent strategy can help stop this from happening or reduce it by ensuring you take care of employees’ needs.
  • Boost employee morale. An effective talent management strategy allows organizations to recognize their employees and keep them motivated. As a result, employees work harder and stay longer.

Talent strategy examples

From Google to Amazon, top companies have used talent strategies to improve their hiring, retention, training and development, and overall performance.

Whether you’re thinking of launching a startup or are already managing an existing business, these organizations’ success stories can guide and inspire you to develop your talent strategy.

1. Google’s “20% Time”

In a 2004 IPO letter, Larry Page—a co-founder of Google—put forward the popular 20% time initiative. This approach required employees to allocate about 20% of their working time to doing something that would benefit Google. This could be a project that brings immediate value to the company or generates long-term returns.

With the 20% time, Larry hoped to boost employee engagement by enabling them to be more innovative and creative. The strategy had the following benefits for developing and retaining talent:

  • Better learning and development. The 20% time policy gave Google’s employees an excellent opportunity to learn and try new things.
  • Increased morale and happiness. The 20% time strategy boosted employees’ morale by allowing them to engage in different projects that could benefit them and Google—instead of being constrained to the company’s normal routine.

2. Netflix’s “Freedom and Responsibility” culture

Netflix—the world’s most popular streaming company—has freedom and responsibility values deeply embedded in its corporate culture. With these values, the company seeks to promote self-discipline and innovation by creating highly responsible and flexible teams.

In Netflix’s view, a responsible employee must be self-aware and self-motivated. Employees must be willing to go the extra mile for the team by themselves—rather than waiting for instructions. Netflix also believes increasing employee freedom is crucial to attracting and retaining innovative personnel.

Netflix’s freedom and responsibility culture had the following benefits to talent management:

  • Highly empowered teams. By giving employees freedom, Netflix trusted them to do what was right. As a result, employees were more empowered and motivated to perform their responsibilities.
  • Better communication. The increased freedom also broke down communication barriers by allowing employees and managers to be more accountable to one another.
  • Streamlined decision-making. Netflix’s culture supports employee growth by enabling them to make decisions and experience the benefits or consequences.

3. Spreetail’s “Candidate Experience” initiative

Spreetail is an e-commerce partner that helps companies sell their products and services to customers. The company recognized the important role that employees played in its success and sought to generate a positive experience for them from the start.

Spreetail created a candidate experience initiative that emphasizes fast feedback and healthy relationships. The company provides active feedback to all job applicants at each step of the talent management process.

Applicants are ultimately asked to participate in a survey, which allows the company to collect valuable information on its hiring processes. Spreetail uses this feedback to improve its HR practices.

Spreetail’s candidate experience initiative has shown the following benefits for growing and retaining talent:

  • Fosters learning and development. By providing personalized feedback to candidates, Spreetail allows them to know areas they perform well and where they need improvement.
  • A huge talent pipeline. Spreetail’s candidate experience campaign enables it to communicate actively with job applicants. As a result, it’s easier for the company to get suitable employees by going through its existing talent pool of candidates.

4. Oxford University Hospitals’ “Leadership and Development” framework

The Oxford University Hospitals’ (OUH) leadership and development framework seeks to create a highly collaborative team, also known as One Team One OUH, by ensuring there’s a positive and inclusive culture that inspires all stakeholders to deliver value to patients. Rather than giving control and authority to only a select few, OUH’s culture focuses on authenticity, compassion, openness, and transparency from all employees.

Oxford University Hospitals’ strategy had the following benefits for growing and retaining talent:

  • Improved personal development. Moving away from authoritative leadership gives employees more freedom to make decisions and participate in activities that contribute positively to their well-being.
  • Better collaboration. Oxford University Hospitals’ inclusive and open culture fosters effective communication and empowers employees to work together and achieve common milestones.
  • High retention rates. The OUH organization’s culture creates a supportive environment where employees can grow personally and professionally. As a result, the hospital likely experiences a low turnover rate.

5. Talking Rain’s “Diversity for Thought”

Talking Rain is a private beverage company that recognizes the importance of diversity and inclusivity in the modern workplace. It’s also aware that people have different knowledge, experiences, strengths, skills, and weaknesses.

To establish a well-rounded team, everyone must have an equal opportunity for recruitment regardless of their gender identity, color, religion, disability, or any other personal differences. Talking Rain embraced the diversity for thought initiative to create a strong culture and equal employment opportunities. With this strategy, the company can find and attract talent even in new areas it’s seeking to expand.

Talking Rain’s diversity for thought initiative had the following effects on inclusivity and talent retention:

  • Increased employee satisfaction. Talking Rain’s initiative made all employees feel valued and appreciated, increasing its retention rate.
  • Equal compensation. Talking Rain ensured employees in similar positions received equal pay regardless of personal differences. So, employees had a reason to work harder, knowing they’d receive the right compensation.

6. Amazon’s “Leadership Principles”

Amazon—one of the largest technology companies in the world—established a set of leadership principles aimed at developing employees and increasing productivity. Among other factors, these principles emphasize hiring and developing the best talent. Effective leaders are required to identify exceptional talent and organize and manage personnel for the best performance.

Leaders must also create a supportive work environment based on trust, openness, and transparency. This atmosphere enables employees to be creative, innovative, and adhere to high standards.

Amazon’s leadership principles had the following benefits for empowering and retaining talent:

  • Creation of a conducive atmosphere. Amazon leaders are expected to create a safe and productive environment where employees can work and have fun. Leaders are encouraged to invest in employees’ personal success and growth. These activities empower employees to accomplish their responsibilities more effectively.
  • Increased trust. Leaders are encouraged to respect and trust their junior team members by listening and communicating with them often. Such behavior makes employees feel valued and increases their likelihood of staying at Amazon.
  • Training and development programs. Amazon’s leadership principles empower employees by providing opportunities for career development.

7. Omnidian’s “Sol Mate” program

Omnidian, a solar systems and energy provider, promotes employee performance and well-being. The company shows its commitment and dedication to employees by investing in them at the hiring stage.

With the Sol Mate program, Omnidian makes it easier for new employees to settle in by assigning them a senior leader who takes control of their onboarding experience. The leader or “sol mate” guides the new hire through the company’s processes and activities, teaching them how it operates.

Omnidian’s Sol Mate program has the following benefits for building strong relationships:

  • Open communication. The Sol Mate program allows junior employees to communicate and consult with senior personnel and forge healthy relationships.
  • Collaboration. Having senior leaders from other departments guide new employees fosters a culture of teamwork and can lead to strong relationships.

Best practices for implementing a talent strategy

We cover some best talent management practices when implementing a talent strategy.

  • Align your talent approach with your business strategy. Employees are responsible for helping a company achieve its objectives. So, ensure your talent strategy aligns with your organizational objectives. This allows employees to understand their responsibilities better and improve the likelihood of success.
  • Build a strong culture. A strong company culture helps you attract and retain top talent. It also promotes employee engagement and motivation and can increase productivity, creativity, and innovation. Strive to create a culture of openness, transparency, and effective communication. Further, ensure your values and beliefs align with the company’s vision. This will make it easier for new employees to settle in and perform well.
  • Attract and retain top talent. When looking for new employees, showcase the benefits they’ll experience when working for your company. You should also show how candidates have an opportunity to grow—and the flexibility and freedom that comes with the role. Remember to show you value collaborative leadership, and you listen and treat every employee with respect and dignity.
  • Have an onboarding process. This article discussed how Omnidian assigned senior leaders to new employees to help them fit in. An effective onboarding process can help reduce confusion and increase productivity since employees can get started with their new roles more quickly.
  • Provide career growth opportunities. Many employees prefer to work in organizations where they can grow their careers. Companies that fail to provide such environments can experience a high turnover rate, low employee morale, and dissatisfaction. To attract and retain top talent, invest in training programs to help employees update their skills and knowledge. You should also engage in succession planning and create opportunities that positively shape employees’ career paths.
  • Embrace diversity and inclusivity. People have different backgrounds, cultures, disability statuses, and needs.. As an employer, create a culture that favors equality, diversity, and inclusivity. You should promote or hire staff based on their qualifications and performance rather than personal differences. Create a conducive work environment with proper tools, equipment, and policies. Besides enhancing your employer brand, embracing diversity boosts creativity and innovation in the workplace.
  • Establish Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). As an employer, you need a performance management system to help keep track of employees. You can use the KPIs to gauge employees’ performance and determine if they need more support or training.

Let Upwork’s talent management help

An effective talent strategy helps you attract, hire, and retain top talent. Huge companies like Amazon and Google attract top talent due to their excellent talent strategies.

When implementing a talent strategy, make sure it aligns with your organizational goals, has a proper onboarding process, and encourages a strong culture that fosters teamwork, openness, and transparency. Remember to allow your employees to grow personally and professionally.

Need help developing or optimizing your talent strategy? Upwork can connect you to talent management professionals ready to assist with any part of your strategic plan.

If you’re a talent management expert looking for work, Upwork is a great place to begin your search. You can apply for talent management jobs and work with clients worldwide.

Upwork is not affiliated with and does not sponsor or endorse any of the tools or services discussed in this article. These tools and services are provided only as potential options, and each reader and company should take the time needed to adequately analyze and determine the tools or services that would best fit their specific needs and situation.


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7 Successful Talent Strategy Examples
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