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Talent needs talent: managing your workforce ‘The Halian Way’

18 September 2018

Talent management is always near the top of the business agenda, but are businesses approaching it seriously? Veera Marshall, Strategic HR Partner at Halian, takes a look at how Halian has been changing employee experience for the better around the world, with hugely positive results.

Ask a CEO what their key priorities are for the coming year, and one item will always make an appearance on the list: talent management. Recent surveys reported that 52% of CFOs listed talent management as their key focus area, and identified talent management as the most prominent trend of 2018.

I think most people today would agree that a company’s most valuable assets are its employees, yet talent management is still seen by many as a strategy defined by words such as ‘future’, ‘investment’ and ‘long-term’. Indicative of the fact that while it’s important, talent management is rarely deemed urgent. Decision makers are happy to leave it on the back burner, failing to realise that they’re falling behind the competition and making it far harder down the line to be assured of onboarding and maintaining a highly skilled workforce.

It’s for this very reason that Halian’s unique way of doing things – The Halian Way – has had such a positive impact for talent management teams worldwide. As a company, we support clients when and where they need it the most and show value rapidly through our agility and partnership approach.

From my experience, nothing exemplifies this better than a managed service we began with Cerner (a market leader in health information technology solutions and services) back in 2014. In just six weeks, we helped to recruit, onboard, and position onsite more than 40 employees within the UAE’s Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP) facilities. One of the key success factors was a dedicated HR Business Partner (HRBP) that was embedded in the Cerner ITWorks department, managing all the HR needs of the onsite team.

In 2016, the contract was renewed for another five years, and since then, we’ve not only had an increase in the number of staff engaged on the service to over 70, but have also seen new hospitals, clinics and services added to the facilities supported.

For a growing team, carrying out vital work for the MOHAP and Cerner, talent management has been top priority. We’ve introduced a new performance management system, working collaboratively with Cerner management to design a bespoke tool that directly connects employee efforts with the company’s performance. Our embedded HRBP has introduced a new induction training plan and a skills matrix that allows employees to plan their development and map their future, as well as introducing ‘HR on the GO’ sessions that include onsite training on pertinent policies and procedures. These efforts have boosted employee engagement and retention, making the life of the customer that much easier.

The HRBP has also refined the onboarding process and introduced technical candidate assessments before the interview stage to ensure only successful candidates meet Cerner line managers, thereby reducing unnecessary interview time. For time-poor executives, knowing that the potential talent they meet face to face is of a proven quality makes the whole process more efficient.

Building a strategic relationship with Cerner, and being able to get truly hands on with coaching employees, has really helped create a culture of effectiveness, transparency and trust. With the managed service attrition rate at Cerner being 4% and 2% in 2017 and 2018 – compared to a local market average of 23% – the talent management strategy Halian has put into place can be seen to add real value. In a world where CEOs know the most important resource in their business is their staff, it really pays to see talent management as not a priority for the future, but as a necessity now.