You make the most of every one of your investments, right? You value efficiency, you optimize your resources, and if an expensive strategy isn’t working according to plan, you trim your losses and make a change. As a business manager, the more experience you gain, the more likely you are to invest only in what works and avoid what doesn’t. But are you taking the same approach to your HR strategies? Are you making sure your talent management program is on track, efficient, and moving you closer to your goals? In the cutthroat business landscape where the economy takes no prisoners, leaders everywhere are realizing that they can hold a significant advantage if their talent pool is working at optimal levels and producing business results.

Your hiring, training, evaluation and other HR management protocols should be keeping you a step ahead of your competition. At the very least, they shouldn’t be holding you back. Ask yourself the following questions:

Are you doing all you can to make talent your competitive edge?

1. Goals…Goals…Goals…How strong are your goal alignment efforts? When you hire new employees and staff open positions, are you clear with your employees about the expectations that will be placed upon them? And do you encourage them to be clear about what they need from the company, what they intend accomplish and where they hope to be in the next three years? Are your employees fully aware of what they should be focusing on and how that focus is linked to company direction and success? Are managers revisiting goals with employees at frequent intervals to assess status and make amendments if needed? Effective goal management at every level within the company is critical. Company goals serve as the navigation systems keeping employees on track and in line to arrive at a final destination – success.

2. Getting the best of the best…and then keeping them. What efforts are you taking to groom and retain top talent? How are you monitoring, measuring, and improving upon employee satisfaction metrics? If you want to get serious about leveraging your talent, it is critical that retention be top of mind every day. We caught up with a few HR professionals at a recent event and asked them ‘what keeps HR up at night?’ To no surprise, many responded ‘losing our star performers’. When you have an edge – keep it sharp and keep it engaged. Talent retention strategies ensure that your investment in the development and identification of high performers doesn’t end up benefiting some other company. Ensure that managers are given the tools needed to identify and monitor who is shining bright, who might be at risk of leaving, and who should be revisiting goals and development plans.

3. Assess & Monitor Performance: What mechanisms do you have in place to implement and monitor an effective performance management strategy? Are you still relying on spreadsheets and printed forms to assess talent annually? How meaningful are your reviews and how useful are they to employees, managers, and HR? After each evaluation cycle, performance, morale, and efficiency should all show measurable improvements. If they aren’t, you may be missing important opportunities, creating weak performance improvement plans, or letting your managers sabotage their own efforts. Is the frequency of reviews helping or hurting management’s ability to accurately assess employees? Do you have systems in place to track goals and solicit performance feedback in between appraisal conversations?

Talent reviews have been given a bad rep in the past. Dreaded as they may be perceived as being, they serve many essential purposes including evaluating and setting goals, acknowledging and rewarding performance, engaging employees and management, and highlighting succession possibilities and training and development opportunities. Your appraisal process has to be planned out to suit your business needs. There is no cookie cutter approach to talent management; however, if given the time and attention it deserves, your talent strategy can set you apart from your competition and employee performance and output can quickly become your competitive edge.

To learn more about how software solutions like emPerform can help to streamline your talent management efforts, visit