Talent mapping – an overview

Talent mapping is thought of as being one in the same (in the context of a single role) as the candidate identification and initial contact stages of an executive search (head hunting) assignment.

Your talent map is the identification of a group of individuals for one or more specific (normally key) roles in the business; there are always multiple options for each role and therefore it is important to identify  a large quantity of good quality candidates as well as the means to quickly communicate with them once the need arises if there is no immediate need.

It firstly requires a business to understand how to measure and define (generically and role specifically) what a good prospective employee is.  It then seeks to understand where the best talent is working.  It establishes which businesses tend to have the best individuals and what working conditions and remuneration attract them to those businesses and keep them there.

In some cases the individuals who are identified as prospective employees by this process are kept in contact with on a speculative long-term basis, in other cases the person exists as a referral from a third party or from desk research which the company does not act upon by contacting the individual.

This means that the business has a talent pipeline and therefore the basis to build their succession plan whatever its future demands, whether through significant growth or organisational change.

Talent mapping has the following peripheral benefits:

  • Organisations that talent map are proactively managing their reputation as employers in the market – this improves reputation and provides excellent responsive feedback
  • It seeks to understand what the industry’s top quartile is and its relationship to the business’s measurement of what is the best (they may not be the same)
  • It is a great snapshot of competitor and market activityIt benchmarks compensation and benefits packages
  • It encourages all employees to keep a ‘watching brief’ for future employeesIt makes sure that the company is clear on its message regarding prospective employees and because that message is being used and therefore being tested constantly, it remains under open review by the company
  • The company and its employees are proactive in communicating that messageIt is able to act decisively and quickly when a need arises

Before you consider a talent mapping exercise consider:

  • It is indeed a specialist task to undertake talent mapping and many companies do outsource to search companies.  However, it should not be underestimated that talent mapping is a desk research and initial contact exercise and much of the hard work is undertaken after the talent mapping is done, i.e. the proactive contact of all likely candidates to attract them together on a timely basis to a series of interviews with the business.
  • This is proactive reputation management – a poor message or one that is portrayed inconsistently by executives using it can have very damaging effects
  • The logistics, administrative backup and tone of communications must match the overall message

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