7 Ways to Build Buy-In for Your HR Talent Management Strategy

by Mike Tannian on March 30, 2022

You can’t build and maintain talent without your organization’s support. Find out how to build buy-in for your HR talent management strategy.

Article Highlights

You’ve no doubt experienced it before: after spending an untold number of hours planning professional development training for your organization’s employees… no one shows. To make matters worse, you planned the training based on specific feedback you received from employees. 

So why the heck aren’t your talent management efforts paying off? 

Unfortunately, it may come down to not having enough buy-in from your organization. Like it or not, HR talent management can’t just be relegated to your department. 

That’s because managers contribute up to 70% of the variance in how engaged an employee is at work. In other words, employees might not be participating in training (or other professional development opportunities) because their supervisors aren’t encouraging them to do so. 

If individuals at all levels of your organization don’t trust your expertise, your talent management strategies are never going to pay off. But how do you build buy-in? 

Let’s find out. In this post, we’ll cover the role of the HR manager in talent management, as well as seven specific ways you can build organizational buy-in for your talent management approach. 

Keep reading if you’re ready to make sure your expertise never goes unused again. 

What is Talent Management in HR?

Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s make sure we’re all operating under the same definitions: what is talent management in HR? 

It’s fairly straightforward: talent management is the process of ensuring your organization’s employees are equipped with the skills necessary to make positive contributions to your company. This requires a variety of approaches, many of which involve thoughtful recruitment and retention strategies: 

  • Developing effective hiring processes to recruit top talent 
  • Conducting organizational skill gap analyses 
  • Maintaining a strong talent pipeline 
  • Building professional development opportunities for current employees
  • Overseeing the performance evaluation process 
  • Fostering a culture that promotes continuous learning and retains high-performing employees

In essence, the role of the HR manager in talent management is to put policies and practices into place that make talent management a part of the very fiber of your organization. To this end, you serve as a conduit between employees, their supervisors, and the organization as a whole. 

As part of this relationship, you help organizational leaders understand how an effective talent management strategy allows them to meet their goals. Whether that means hiring skilled employees or building skills through training, you demonstrate how a comprehensive talent management strategy takes your organization to new heights.

How to Get Buy-In

You’ve probably heard the saying, “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.” There are some parallels between that stubborn horse and your organization. 

You can talk about the importance of talent management in HR until you’re blue in the face. But if you don’t have organizational buy-in, no one will put theory into practice. For your talent management processes to work, employees need to look to human resources for guidance at every phase of talent acquisition and retention. 

And if that’s going to happen, leaders need to trust your expertise. Without credibility, your efforts to recruit (and retain) talent on behalf of your organization will continually fall flat. As such, another key role of the HR manager in talent management is building buy-in for your efforts. 

How do you do that? Let’s take a look at seven things you need to do. 

1. Understand the immediate needs and long-term goals of each team leader

You can’t grow the right talent if you don’t know what’s most needed to facilitate organizational success. Thus, understanding both the immediate needs and long-term goals of your organization’s leaders is a fundamental role of the HR manager in talent management. 

For example, a manager’s performance may be evaluated based on year-over-year sales on her team. As such, her long-term goal is to increase profits. A more immediate need then is to improve the sales skills within the team she supervises. 

After you take the time to understand these needs, you can identify the best talent management strategy. Since investing in professional development opportunities can result in 24% higher profit margins, you might encourage her to send employees to training. 

Alternatively, the two of you might determine that hiring a new employee is the best way to fill existing skill gaps. Either way, working together to meet long-term organizational goals is fundamental to building buy-in for your overarching talent management strategy. 

2. Establish credibility by hiring high-performing employees

On the flip side, if you say you understand a hiring manager’s needs but then fail to cultivate or hire talent that meets those needs… 

You’re bound to lose their trust. 

For better or worse, it’s more common to hire candidates to fill skill gaps than it is to cultivate them within an existing workforce. To further your organization’s business execution goals, you need to have a solid hiring process that continually delivers high-quality candidates. 

And we know that’s not always as easy as it sounds, especially in today’s competitive job market. 

We’ve written extensively about how to win in a competitive market in the past, so we won’t go into a ton of detail here (you can read more about it on our blog). We will say, however, that making a few tweaks to your hiring process and employment practices can work wonders on improving your quality of hires. This might include: 

  • Shortening your hiring timeline 
  • Offering flexible work schedules
  • Providing competitive benefits 

There are a variety of ways to improve your processes. The key here is to identify a system that attracts skilled employees who meet the immediate and long-term needs of your hiring manager. 

3. Build a positive employee experience 

Happy employees are engaged employees. Organizations that take the time to build a positive employee experience are also almost three times more likely to manage their talent effectively than those that don’t invest in their employee experience.  

It’s no wonder why this is the case. Who’s more likely to send their employees to professional development opportunities: a disgruntled manager or a happy one? And which of these employees will be more likely to attend: the one with high morale or the one who can’t wait for the clock to strike five each day? 

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to building a great employee experience, and doing so will largely depend on your organization’s sector. 

Generally speaking, however, taking the time to understand the unique needs of your employees is a great way to build a positive employment experience (in fact, using active listening in tandem with other wellness initiatives can improve employee loyalty by 79%). 

Another big picture way to build a positive employee experience is to regularly connect an employee’s job to a larger meaning. Meaningful work is the second-highest work motivator for individuals pursuing public sector jobs and is regularly reported as one of the most important contributors to job satisfaction

4. Build a multigenerational workforce

Building a multigenerational workforce is a way to get buy-in from people of all ages and experience levels in your organization. A multi-generational workforce is fundamental to HR planning for talent management because employing people from all age ranges: 

  • Helps maintain institutional knowledge
  • Increases diversity of perspectives
  • Allows your organization to reach different target audiences

In addition to building buy-in, multigenerational workforces facilitate mentorship opportunities. A recent survey indicates that individuals who regularly engage in peer coaching not only feel more fulfilled at work but are also more likely to be top performers and stay with their organization for the long term. 

Building a multigenerational workforce requires careful planning for HR talent management. Entice younger generations to work for your organization by:

  • Building a positive employer brand
  • Regularly updating social media
  • Cultivating an efficient hiring process

Entice members of older generations to work for your organization by building a robust mentorship program where tenured employees can share their expertise with younger employees. 

5. Create a succession planning strategy  

There’s a retirement upcoming, and you know exactly how you’re going to fill the position. 

That’s what the power of a great succession planning strategy can accomplish. A succession plan also helps businesses identify whether an internal or external recruitment process will be necessary. Succession planning ensures you’re never at a loss for how to fill an open position and is thus fundamental to HR planning for talent management. 

This active, long-term, and ongoing process involves individuals at all levels of an organization and builds buy-in through: 

  • Ensuring organizational leaders know who can fill positions in an organization
  • Retaining institutional knowledge on behalf of the organization
  • Increasing tenure (and reducing turnover) within the organization by facilitating career development and promotion opportunities 

Succession planning ensures that individuals who want to move up in your organization have a path to do so. This reduces turnover in your organization. Employees who work at organizations that prioritize internal promotions stay with the organization for 41% longer on average than they do at organizations that focus on external recruitment. 

As with any good human capital management strategy, your succession planning strategy should be both people and process-oriented. And because neither people nor processes are ever static, neither should be your succession plan. 

Succession planning conversations should take place regularly, not just when you have vacancies. As you develop your strategy, never forget you’re cultivating talent in real people with real career goals.

6. Lead with innovation

Yet another great way to achieve buy-in is for your human resources team to lead with innovation. After all, who wants to follow the lead of a department that constantly seems behind the times? 

One way to lead with innovation is to take advantage of technology that supports continuous learning. Investing in a product like NEOGOV’s Learn enables employees to easily access professional development opportunities on their own time. In addition to making learning more accessible, e-learning platforms can also result in significant cost savings, ranging from 40% to 50% over just a few years. 

Centralizing your organization’s performance evaluations process is another great way to innovate. Products like NEOGOV’s Perform enable employees and their managers to reflect on employee performance in a centralized space. As such, both staff and supervisor can work together to pinpoint areas for growth.   

These innovative products can also assist your organization with building buy-in when it comes to points we’ve previously discussed. For example, as part of its succession planning efforts, your organization might consider using Learn to create a module for individuals who want to pursue leadership positions in the future. 

Of course, you don’t have to use technology to innovate. You can implement other innovative measures that move the needle on your talent management strategy, whether that’s pursuing novel training opportunities or incentivizing learning, to demonstrate that your HR team is dedicated to continuous improvement. 

7. Track progress towards goals

In the first step of this article, you took the time to establish the long-term business goals of hiring managers and your organization as a whole. Now, it’s time to come full circle by undertaking a little performance management and tracking progress towards these goals. 

If you want to ensure you’re meeting the talent management needs of your organization, your human resources team should carefully track performance management data like: 

  • Time to fill open positions 
  • Cost per hire
  • Employee turnover rate and overall employee retention 
  • Supervisor satisfaction with new hires 
  • Employee satisfaction 

Sharing this data with organizational leaders demonstrates that you’re actively listening to their needs and adapting to meet strategic goals. It also provides key quantitative data to demonstrate the importance of talent management in HR. 

And the icing on the cake of all this data-tracking? Individuals who work in organizations with strategy-minded human resources professionals are more than twice as likely to say their HR team also effectively manages organizational talent. Talk about a win-win when it comes to building buy-in. 

Final Thoughts

The key to a successful talent management program is getting buy-in from individuals at all levels of your organization. If you don’t establish credibility by making quality hires, bridging generational gaps in your workforce, and leading with innovation, you’re going to struggle to get support from organizational leaders. 

A great way to innovate is by introducing software that can help with e-learning and performance evaluation. If you’d like to learn more about how NEOGOV’s Learn and Perform products can help your organization, don’t hesitate to schedule a demo with NEOGOV.

Mike Tannian

Mike Tannian is the Head of Content Marketing at NEOGOV. With a talented team of writers by his side, he aims to produce content that delivers real value.