Talent Management part 2: exploring the employee journey – it’s a marathon, not a sprint

Talent management: the employee journey marathon

In my last article of this Talent Management series, we concluded that Talent Management (TM) was not a stand-alone activity that can be ‘done’ to people.  It is the compounding effect of people practices, leadership and thoughtful execution. As a definition TM is having robust people and culture structures, practice and initiatives that when combined add value to the employee journey while enhancing organisational brand.

Talent Management

In this article I’d like to focus on the employee lifecycle, or what’s more commonly referred to as the ‘employee journey and experience’.

One way to look at this journey is through the lens of time. There is significant anecdotal evidence that indicates that it takes between 18 – 24 months for a new employee to reach peak performance.  Once there, it is short-lived and with each passing year we see a steady decline in engagement levels if we abandon our leadership post. Employee abandonment results in engagement levels trending downwards which increases the ‘employee flight risk’ for a short time before everything starts to flat line. It is this flat line that leaders should fear the most. This is what I call the ‘stay risk’. Employees are so entrenched in their mind sets that they feel stuck in a job that they possibly no longer enjoy.  They become change resistant and blocks for the organisation to manoeuvre during times of significant change. Thankfully, there are ways to avoid this happening or at least minimising both ‘flight’ and stay’ risks.

  1. Understanding your organisations employee journey and experience

While generic models help us understand the various stages, each of our organisations are infinitely different as each journey reflects the culture within. For this reason, I encourage my clients to understand what journey they actually have on the table for their employees.  This requires a combination of brave leadership together with core HR metrics to analyse the joint effects.

  • What retention trends are our employees showing at significant milestones during their career?
  • How much and what type of L&D do we provide our employees at various stages of their careers?
  • Do we focus across all levels of our organisations, or are L&D opportunities for the lucky few?

These are just some of the rich questions we need to uncover to discover the real ‘experience’ that we are offering.

  1. Identify the critical path – our must hit targets for developing talent

With trends analysed by hard data we can start to paint a picture of the key risk times as well as key risk situations where employees are likely to disengage or exit the organisation. This becomes a ‘critical path’ of sorts where we need our P&C initiatives and practices to intervene or manage the risks. These are the things we must get right in our organisation to ensure that our people avoid boredom, feelings of being stuck, overlooked or developing closed mindsets.

  1. What do we offer at each critical step?

Having a range of options for employees adds value to their own ideas of what type of development they should receive. L&D budgets are not bottomless pits – if you are lucky enough to even have a budget. Innovative ways to develop talent need not be expensive nor be formal traditional types of learning activities. The use of the 70:20:10 model for L&D is a case in point. So why not invest more time and effort in the 70:20 ratio – it actually perpetuates the notion of talent management as internal experts become mentors and leaders which also helps to develop them as well. You get double the benefits!

The employee journey has many twists and turns, starts and stops, forward and backward momentum. To truly add value to our ‘most valuable asset’ we need to nurture our employees and provide them with options for their development as they run the marathon that is their career.

In my next article, I will focus on how our employer brand affects the way we attract and develop talent in our sector.

If you would like more information about how to implement or enhance you talent management processes, please contact our Consulting team.

Andrea Collett
Former Senior HR Consultant
Email: consulting@cbb.com.au

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