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Horizontal and vertical talent integration


The alignment of talent management processes is defined as horizontal integration. On the other hand, the development of organizations and employees are the focus of vertical integration.

Below is an overview of the Talent Management processes, following every step of the employee lifecycle. In addition, you’ll find some examples for developing and executing the Talent Management processes.

1. Recruitment

To determine the need for internal or external vacancies, first you must consider the following questions:

  • Do we have the right talent now and in the future (taking into account; retention, absences etc.) to achieve business goals?
  • What type of talent do we need in our organization?
  • Does the current talent fit within the team and within the culture?
  • Do we allow the candidates to grow into the function or does the talent have to fulfill all the requirements?

Based on this information, an organization can search for the right talent. For example, suppose you need to stimulate growth next year. To reach the goals, your organization needs to invest in the right talented sales employees.

2. Manage performance and identify talent

To follow best practices, managers evaluate employees during the performance cycle. A “Talent review” pinpoints high and low performers within a department. It is then easy to determine how the team is performing and whether there are gaps. Managers can then see where to focus and what actions to take.

3. Plan Career

Typically, talented people have potential to grow, both horizontally and vertically. Their career development needs to be aligned with the organization and the employee.

For example, if an employee has the ambition to be a distribution manager, but the organization would like to outsource that specific department within a few years, expectations need to be managed.

4. Manage succession

To ensure continuity of your business it is important to have successors available for key positions in the organization both in the short term as well as the long term.

Using a fit-gap analysis there is a clear view on the risks and what action(s) is required. For example, from the strategic workforce planning you know that the organization needs at least 10 senior managers within three years. However, the “Talent Review” shows there are only five who will reach this level by that time. You now know, you need to recruit managers ASAP.

5. Learn

As a result of the talent management strategy the organization decides in which talent they would like to invest. Will it be all employees or only two in every department and are these specific employees or specific roles?

Suppose that an organization would like to improve quality. However, the employees are not sufficiently conscious of quality. In this case, you choose between investing in quality through training current employees or recruiting external candidates.

6. Manage compensation

In a best-case scenario, the compensation policy aligns to the talent management strategy and the other HR processes. A compensation policy with an established collective labor agreement increase in salary has limits.

To clarify, it may not support the possibility of additional compensation for talent. However, a compensation policy related to talent management aims to attract and retain the right talent. In addition, it may stimulate exit of other employees. Note that it is critical to apply with accuracy and fairness. Otherwise, risk of attrition rises.

7. Manage mobility

Mobility creates dynamics within the organization. For example, vacant positions motivate employees to develop new talents needed for other roles. This movement strengthens the organization.

This is especially important if the number and diversity of talent is not aligned to business goals. Strive to build a balance of employees who are expanding their skills and others who have a longer tenure and expertise.

8. Manage exit

Employees are the ambassadors and the heart of the organization. As an organization you would like to attract and retain the best talent. 

In some situations, a very promising employee might reach the ceiling of what the employer can offer for a given role. This presents a challenge. The situation leads to conversations with the employee about options. This is part of strategic talent management. The reason being, is that an employee who leaves a role, creates potential for others seeking internal transfers or for external candidates wanting to get a foot in the door.

Remember those who leave with a positive impression will be ambassadors of the organization. For example, if the employee leaves your organization at a young age to gain experience in another environment, the door is open for them to return to your organization in the future.

The choices made in the different processes depend on the translation of the organization strategy to the HR- and talent management strategy. To execute a talent management strategy you should use your HR processes. For optimal results you should align those HR processes, a horizontal integration as described above.

Employees that use their talents to the full means a logical outcome is increased productivity, effectiveness, and power of innovation for the organization. These are the achievements we would like to see from horizontal and vertical integration.

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