Workforce engagement in talent management

Laying the foundations for talent management is critical to success. To enable a culture of talent management within your service, engaging with your workforce will be crucial.


Helping people see the benefits of talent management

For talent management to be effective, everyone needs to understand what it is and what its benefits are. As an HR/L&D/OD professional, you can strategise and implement systems to enable talent management – but putting it into practice will require engagement from the entire workforce. This is why it’s so important to educate your wider team and service about why it should matter to them, and what knowledge and skills they need.


For example, a key part of successful talent management is having conversations about current performance and future potential. Line managers need to understand why these conversations are so important, otherwise they may not make the time to have them. Line managers also need to be honest with themselves about their own development needs in order to be able to support their employees; for instance, they might need help with their coaching skills.


Using engagement to map the way forward

As part of the creation and implementation of your talent management strategy, it would be helpful to know the answers to the following questions.


  1. What does talent management need to achieve in your service?

Engaging with and analysing your workforce will help you understand the priorities for your talent management strategy. For example, are any members of your senior leadership team likely to retire over the next five years? If so, do you know who might have the potential to move into these positions? Or perhaps you have recently run two recruitment campaigns for senior IT positions, but you haven’t found any suitable candidates. Have you considered developing internal talent to fill these positions?


  1. What are the interdependencies?

Engaging with your workforce, – subject-matter experts in particular – at an early stage will help you understand what else you may need to consider to ensure successful talent management within your service. For example, do your line management teams have the skills and attributes they need to have meaningful career conversations? Does your service have the time and money to run the required number of development interventions?


  1. What is the current level of maturity?

You may use the tools within the Toolkit and the NFCC Maturity Models to write a talent management strategy for your service, describing the vision you have for your service. Engaging with your workforce will help you understand your current position, which will help you identify the gap between where you are and where you want to be. This should help you set realistic timescales, budgets and priorities. The self-assessment tool in this section will also help you with this activity.


Tools supplied to help with engagement

This section of the Talent Management Toolkit also includes a range of handouts that can be used to support communication, as well as a range of slides for workshops produced by other fire and rescue services and external organisations. You can re-use the content from these slides to create a workshop that meets your service’s needs.