Coming up with innovative talent management strategies is essential for HR departments

Companies will always be looking to attract, retain and develop the best talent.

If the first process is completed successfully, the next two should follow smoothly, with both the employee and employer benefiting in the long term. Talent has to be at the top of the HR agenda, as hiring exceptional candidates is still the end goal.

Attracting talent

New research from KPMG and the Recruitment and Employment Confederation shows that more than one-third (35.9 per cent) of employers offered higher starting wages in July than June, in recognition of the need to make their jobs seem attractive.

However, there is more to attracting the best talent than salary scales. HR author Claudio Fernandez-Araoza has pointed to three factors - globalisation, demographics and leadership - that will affect the demand for talent. Writing in HR Magazine, he stated that the rise in cross-border business has "never escalated more quickly" and this means there is a scramble for the very best talent.

"The most important thing organisations can do is shift their hiring criteria and focus on potential rather than competency fit," he stated. Mr Fernandez-Araoz is also calling on companies to nurture employees' "ability to grow and adapt to fundamentally different and increasingly complex responsibilities".

He also thinks organisations should only be looking for people who can "develop new knowledge and skills to suit constantly evolving circumstances".

*Retaining talent *

Central to the success of talent retention is employee engagement, as a happy and fulfilled workforce will, in theory, be more productive. As part of this process, companies need to understand their own culture to see if it matches up with their mission statement, and if it not make changes to have them realigned.

Consider introducing a flexible working environment in an effort to offer staff a better work-life balance. Whether it is flexitime, job shares or working from home, this will demonstrate understanding on the part of the employer and should foster loyalty from staff.

You should also think about putting together a compelling benefits package that offers a range of features that will promote good mental and physical health. For example, gym memberships and free food will show that you care and are interested in the wellbeing of your staff.

Developing talent

Above all else, HR departments need to be thinking about development from day one. For example, Facebook has a unique onboarding approach in the hope that it fosters talent development. Labelled as a 'six-week boot camp', the company takes a market-leading approach so that new employees hone the necessary knowledge, skills and behaviours to become valued members of staff.

By investing in people from day one, they build a strong relationship and underpin professional development in everything that follows. During this period, workers are given full access to the complete computer code behind Facebook to demonstrate trust, while at the end of the six weeks they are asked what project they would like to work on.

"Bootcamp is really a very unique program that's incredibly effective in getting our engineers onboarded very quickly and giving them an opportunity to learn our common tools and framework. Giving new recruits a very safe way to actually do - we think learning by doing is actually the best way to learn anything," said Charu Gupta, head of Facebook's Mission Control.