Designing a Talent Management Cloud for Your Organization

Want to retain your top talent? Award-winning Ph.D. in Management student Lisa Haneberg explains how to start by asking the right questions.

Talent Management CloudBy Sandra Bienkowski
July 2011

Talent management is critical to every organization. Retaining engaged employees is a lot more cost efficient than rehiring—and it helps you further your mission faster. Ph.D. in Management student Lisa Haneberg, a public speaker, consultant, author of 12 books, and the vice president of MPI Consulting, is on a quest to help organizations improve their ability to retain and develop top talent. For her efforts, she was recently awarded the Management Innovation eXchange (MIX) and Human Capital Institute’s award, the M-Prize, for her idea “The Talent Management Cloud.”

At Walden, Haneberg plans to research many aspects of talent management, including how organizations can improve success while building employee psychological well-being and happiness. “I chose Walden because it will allow me the opportunity to research six meaty areas of study,” she says. “I love to take complex information and translate it to the practitioner.”

Here, she explains how anyone can apply her Talent Management Cloud principles to improve employee retention:

“Most people know that the reasons employees stay or go and whether they grow or stagnate are complex and numerous. For the last couple of years, I have been conducting an exercise during leadership training sessions that supports this assertion. I draw a long line on a large white board and ask participants to imagine that this line represents the employee life cycle from interest in employment to retirement or termination.

“Then I ask the entire class to walk up to the board and to write what most affects whether employees stay or go or are able to develop. Once they get started, the reasons begin to fly and number in the dozens. The board looks like a swarm (or cloud) of what most impacts retention and development. This ‘cloud’ can become an evolving repository of practices, beliefs, or frames that are pulled into a plan for improving talent management. It should be continually tuned so that it is a good representation of what your employees are experiencing.”

Create Your Own Cloud

“Gather a small group of leaders together and ask these questions. You know more than you realize and will find a lot of agreement.

  1. What do your organization’s turnover patterns tell you?
  2. How can you describe the reputation your management teams have?
  3. What feedback have you received from employees that might tell you more about why they stay or go and grow or stagnate?
  4. What are a few of the reasons employees rank their workplaces as the best?
  5. Does your organization have qualities that are similar to highly ranked workplaces?

Next, build out the cloud. Don’t simply create a list of what impacts retention; craft a guide that will help you improve your organization’s business practices. Each piece within your cloud should be explained so that leaders and employees know how to build and reinforce strengths, solve problems, and remove barriers.

Move from cloud to system. Share the contents of the cloud with your team, facilitate discussion, and select a focused list of opportunities, initiatives, or projects that have the greatest potential for improving retention and growth. Implement what you’ve learned.”

Want to create your own Talent Management Cloud? Download Haneberg’s white paper (PDF) that elaborates on her award-winning idea.