Tag Archive: HR strategy


Anja Hartman-Weitz, HR Director at Sage VIP

Anja Hartman-Weitz, HR Director at Sage VIP

 

- By Anja Hartman, HR Director at Sage VIP

Talent management adds strategic value to a business and if implemented correctly will help a company to achieve its business goals. In a nutshell it is all about placing the ‘right people in the right role’ for current and future business plans.

A company’s talent management strategy should form part of the overall HR strategy and in the end align with the company’s overall business plan. For example, if the company is building a brand of confidence for the external customers; this confidence will have to be demonstrated by the leaders inside the business. Creating a leadership brand is therefore central in supporting the brand internally. This will help the leaders to focus not only on achieving financial targets but also think of how to motivate and engage employees to achieve these financial goals.

Company culture, forms an integral part of talent management and will attract the right talent for future success. For instance, if you work towards being an employer of choice, your employees are more likely to be loyal, and in the end this will make you as a company a favourable option for the people you want to attract. A company’s culture is not established overnight and links in strongly with the behaviours of the business leaders, the way decisions are taken, the processes and the day to day running of a business.

In Sage VIP, we have found great value in conducting anonymous employee surveys. In these surveys, employees had the opportunity to tell us how they rate certain dimensions in the business, but more importantly indicate which dimensions will make them more loyal towards the company. This formed the foundation in our journey on becoming an employer of choice and we are fortunate to be in a position where talented graduates approach us and want to work at our company.

Building a talent pipeline

One of the main responsibilities for any manager is to ensure a strong talent pipeline.  They have to identify critical skills and competencies required for current and future business goals. In addition to this, the manager also has to identify critical positions and determine which individuals will be capable of taking up these key positions in future.

An analysis of your current talent can be based on discussions with individuals, the output from assessment tools and evaluating the performance of employees over the last few years.

The following should be taken into consideration when determining an employee’s potential:

  • The ability to easily progress to higher and more complex levels
  • Displaying learning agility and is readily adaptable
  • The ability to perform cross-functional assignments and not be limited to geographical or functional discipline
  • Personal aspiration and commitment to succeed

This evaluation process is followed by developing people according to a structured plan, based on the gaps identified between the business plan and the current talent available. It is also referred to as a succession plan.

In any organisation, there will always be employees with a specific talent or critical ‘know how’, on which the company relies heavily. If these employees should exit the business, the impact is usually huge because the skill is not always easy to replace. Managers should aim to reduce the dependency on these critical workers as far as possible.

The succession plan will help to reduce the business risk and the company should have a supply of talent ready to fill this role or be capable of doing broader roles. Replacement plans should be reviewed annually and action plans followed up rigorously – particularly in areas where there are critical gaps.

Talent management and confidentiality

A question regularly asked is, is whether an employee should know if they have been identified as “high potential?” It is important to encourage an open and honest approach with the employee at all times and to communicate with employees where they are in the talent pipeline and what it means to them.

Talent management is not just another HR process. It is important to the survival of any business and managers have a responsibility to ensure talent is managed, effectively and continuously.

By Anja Hartman, HR Director for Softline VIP, part of the Sage Group Plc.

Anja Hartman-Weitz

Anja Hartman-Weitz

People are at the top of the agenda in many a company with the war for talent intensifying in many business sectors.  It is therefore crucial for the Human Resources (HR) department to recognise the value that it brings in terms of helping the business to compete in finding the right talent.

The future of HR however depends on its business presence.  You need to have the mindset of a business role-player first and then an HR professional to understand the contribution that HR can make to the bigger picture.  It boils down to how well you really know your business and who your clients are, may it be employees, line managers, Exco members, external clients or even investors.  Ask yourself the following questions, to establish whether you understand your business:

  • What are the top three priorities and concerns of your business leaders?
  • Who is your biggest client and why do they use your service or product?
  • Which product/service is the most profitable, and why?
  • What emerging technology trends can influence your business?
  • What socio-economic or political trends might be disruptive to your industry?
  • What is the company’s operating margin?
  • What was the revenue and profit for the previous financial year?

If you are familiar with the needs of the business, your HR practices will reflect that knowledge. The answers to the above questions can help the HR practitioner to achieve business objectives through informed HR desicions.

There are many ways in which HR practices can support business performance.  The principles and philosophies that you implement as an HR professional affect the workplace, the value chain, the company’s value proposition as well as the technology that the company uses.  The people represent the company’s image and its ability to adequately deliver its service or product and it is ultimately your responsibility to shape that image and to align it with the business needs.

The broader HR mandate far exceeds the mere administration of HR technology and policies alone.  The focus has shifted towards the management of talent which includes recruitment, training and development, performance management, talent assessment and succession planning.  As far as the organisation is concerned, HR practices will shape the business structure, rewards, internal communication and process design.

It is crucial that the organisation’s HR strategy underscores that of the business.  HR goals need to be consistent with that of the company’s and need to be designed to make the business strategy happen.  Likewise, HR also needs buy-in from management to mobilise its strategy.

It is therefore necessary to focus on building relationships of trust.  To make an impact in the business the HR professional needs to be confident, have a commercial point of view, be able to speak candidly and influence others. A positive investment in their own personal growth will help any HR professional in this regard.

The key elements to focus on are to create a business presence, to learn the language of your business and to continue with an HR mindset. The ultimate goal is to empower your people and to focus on business results as these are lifelines that keep your business alive.