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Over the last 2-3 years, we’ve witnessed a real trend toward and acceptance of integrated talent management systems among most enterprise and many midsize organizations. However, over 25 percent of all organizations still have talent processes that are developed and managed individually, with practices and systems that are “siloed” and have little or no coordination across processes.

True talent management integration doesn’t happen all at once for a lot of companies. Instead, many organizations take a “layering it on” approach, selecting systems that support the evolution of their processes over time.

Challenges for Mid-Sized Organizations

Savvy leaders realize the importance of developing their internal bench strength today to competitively address the organizational demands of tomorrow.  But where do midsize companies start as they develop a talent management strategy to support growth and bench strength plans?

Identifying and adopting the ideal components needed to support an integrated performance and learning management process is complex and time-consuming. For midsize organizations with limited resources, it’s especially challenging.

Most HR practitioners get started by developing a performance management process based on so-called “proven best practices”, and then continue to layer on additional core performance and learning management processes one step at a time.

Of course, the very concept of a best practice is subjective and carries many meanings depending on an organization’s culture. What might be a best practice for one organization or industry may not be successful or acceptable in another

Cut Through the Haze with Five Core Components

In our recent whitepaper, we put forth the proposition that you should begin by focusing on the five core internal performance management components necessary to support key business priorities specifically for mid-sized organizations. These are:

1. Strategic Onboarding

The four building blocks of proactive and effective onboarding — compliance, clarification, culture and connection — should be thoughtfully organized and carefully implemented for a successful onboarding practice.

2. SMART Goals

Once the CEO and executive team have set the organization’s vision and the main financial, customer and organization-wide goals, each sub-unit creates associated team goals, which, in turn, contribute to the organization’s goals. This process “cascades” down the organization until it reaches front-line managers and their employees.  Aligning goals throughout the organization requires clarity and specificity as goals are cascaded organization-wide.

3. Employee Development

Performance assessment in isolation is not enough and it alone does not guarantee performance improvement. Having a performance management process without a learning and development component is like giving a student the motivation to study harder for a test but not giving them any study techniques or resources to help them succeed. Don’t leave training out of your talent management strategy.

4. Succession Planning

Planning the future for specific roles, specific people, or even general sets of critical skills is not for huge enterprise organizations only anymore. Without succession planning, organizations typically respond reactively to changes in leadership and are left to rely on external talent to fill critical internal roles. Worse yet, existing employees may be promoted to roles that are ill-fitted to their current skills or competencies.

5. Employee Engagement

With double-digit unemployment being the norm recently, employees are searching for ways to get ahead without getting out. Building internal résumés, openly expressing career preferences and being allowed to explore potential internal career paths are valuable strategies for employees who are itching to take active interest in managing their own mobility and development. Employees want to be engaged in their work for you – are you going to let them do so?

Learn more about “Five Steps to Advance Your Midsize Company’s Talent Management Strategy” in our recent whitepaper.