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We know the workplace is evolving; influenced by a broad change in demographics, the increase in globalisation of our markets and a need for innovation to create sustainable businesses.

Practical ways to refresh your talent strategy today

How we work and the skills and behaviours required for tomorrow – and even today – are likely to be very different to what has been needed in the past. Yet, for many organisations their talent strategy has remained largely the same, talent processes are time-consuming and talent pools lack diversity. Given the challenges above, doesn’t now seem like a good time to revitalise your approach?

Undoubtedly, reviewing your talent management strategy is a difficult task, so at The Oxford Group, we guide our clients through a simple four-stage approach to Talent Management. This framework acts as a practical pathway to make your talent management efforts more impactful and effective for your organisation now and in the future.

Step 1:

Define what talent means to your organisation in terms of your strategic goals, define your approach, communicate it and set measurable targets.

  • Align your talent strategy in terms of your business’ strategic goals. Where does your organisation want to go in the future and what are the critical skills you will need to get there?
  • Decide on your approach, create a common language and communicate. Create a clear organisational position on talent management and use this to inform all processes and practice.
  • Set targets for what you are trying to achieve in terms of succession planning, talent requirements for the future, and diversity in the workforce. Having targets may seem like tokenism but without them, will change happen?

Step 2:

Identify talent and critical gaps in your workforce and review your processes and approach.

  • Develop the internal capability to spot potential using evidenced-based assessment methods. It’s important to ensure that a person’s whole and unique experiences are a source of evidence, not just their career history.
  • Encourage regular and ongoing development conversations. It’s much easier to identify talent when you know and understand people’s aspirations and experience.
  • Acknowledge that predictions of future behaviour and abilities are just that – predictions. Sadly, talent identification crystal balls don’t exist, so keep the key indicators of potential – learning agility and adaptability, dealing with ambiguity and complexity, resilience and innovation – front of mind.
  • Reduce bias in your talent identification process. Ensure you have individuals with a diversity of thought and experience involved in the assessment process in interviews and talent panels. Don’t assume that demographic differences alone will result in diverse thinking.

Step 3:

Grow and develop talent at all levels.

  • Build learning journeys that engage participants across generations, levels and geographies. These should be blended learning experiences that go beyond a one-off event to encompass experimentation, on the job application and reflection.
  • Build talent communities. Build in activities that require collaboration with internal and external networks to share ideas, experience and perspectives to drive innovation and diversity of thought.
  • Empower learners by encouraging them to curate and share their own content and access it in the formats that suit them best. Consider a combination of online portals, printed materials, social learning, physical and virtual classrooms, podcasts and webinars.

Step 4:

Sustain and embed learning using talent communities and coaching.

  • Plan for long-term success by tracking your progress against the measures you set in the define stage. Be prepared to make adjustments to processes and practices as you go.
  • Keep your talent engaged. Get to know them; hold your line managers accountable for developing and engaging talent; and keep your talent communities alive through alumni events.
  • Create opportunities for your talent population to showcase their skills. Gaining exposure to senior leadership encourages sharing of talent across the organisation.

This certainly isn’t an exhaustive list of tips, but the framework provides a solid foundation on which to start reviewing your talent strategy.

If you would like more information on how The Oxford Group can support you to refine your talent strategy and accelerate the development of key talent in your organisation, please visit