READ TIME: 4 minutes.

Companies are adopting talent mapping as one way to be more strategic in their talent management. What is talent mapping? How does it benefit your company?

In recent years, recruitment firms started touting a “talent mapping” approach to finding high-potential candidates for future talent needs. It’s a more proactive approach than the traditional “just in time” hiring tactic designed to pull in new employees to fill immediate needs. Now, the concept of proactively mapping talent to current and future needs has taken on a broader scope, as companies become more strategic in their talent management initiatives. What is talent mapping? And how does it benefit your company?

What is Talent Mapping?

Talent mapping is a strategic workforce management approach designed to help businesses anticipate and build an employee base with the skills and talents they need now – and into the future.

Talent mapping builds around an organization’s “map” of the skills they need to fulfill business goals. It’s a comprehensive approach that incorporates hiring, employee development, engagement, retention, career paths, and succession planning – all managed with a goal to hire, retain, develop, and adjust the right mix of talent to meet business goals over time.

Talent Mapping Recruitment is Just One Step

Recruitment firms may have coined the phrase “talent mapping” to describe a talent-centric approach to hiring talent that fills both immediate and longer-term skills gaps. Yet talent mapping recruitment is just one step in a holistic approach to mapping and managing the skills of your workforce.

Successful talent mapping requires up-front planning and ongoing attention. Once a company has its business goals and strategic plans in place, HR and talent leaders should ensure that their initiatives and tools are aligned with the bigger picture.

  • Job Descriptions. Concise and up-to-date job descriptions should include the job title, typical duties to be performed, and the vital skills and competencies required to perform each job. Salary range is also a desirable component. Keeping job descriptions current gives existing and future employees – and their managers – a reference to help measure contributions and performance. Periodic review and adjustments also ensure that employees in those jobs have the skills – and are performing the tasks – that align with a company’s evolving strategic plan.
  • Skills Gap Analysis. Keep your competency model up to date with the skills you need now – and expect to need in your future. Then, routinely deliver web-based skills assessments of all employees and managers to get a good picture of which skills are present in your workforce now. Measure proficiency levels, too. Analyze the results to identify skills gaps and strengths at the individual, department, and organization levels compared with the skills you need.
  • Recruitment. One way to close the gaps is to do talent mapping recruitment. That is, identify and hire people who have the targeted skills you need. Before looking outside the company, consider internal candidates. Remember, some employees may have useful skills that are not related to their current role. Reassigning or promoting employees to new roles can accelerate your hiring and training processes for those employees to get up to speed in their new jobs. If you’re recruiting external candidates, keep skills and competencies front and center in your hiring decisions. That way, you’ll be hiring people who may be able to contribute to the company’s growth even if the role they’re in today shifts over time.
  • Employee Development and Upskilling. Ongoing skill development is key at every stage of the employee lifecycle. Keep your learning and development programs aligned with your talent map, so every employee is developing knowledge, gaining experience, and building skills that benefit them and your company. For more dramatic shifts in tools, market conditions, or company direction, look for upskilling opportunities that will arm current employees with new, more valuable skills for the future.
  • Career Paths and Succession Planning. As we’ve shared elsewhere, “employers with a clear career development framework that allows employees to change career direction – horizontally, vertically, or into an entirely different career stream or level – have a competitive advantage.” Career paths encompass vertical and lateral career advancement, new opportunities with current employers that fit both employees’ goals and the company’s priorities. When aligned with a company’s talent map, succession planning, too, keeps employees on track to develop the skills they’ll need as future leaders rather than just those that are effective in today’s workplace.
Benefits of Talent Mapping for Your Organization

Talent mapping is a recurring activity that keeps employee skills and competencies clearly mapped to desired company performance today and anticipated performance in coming years.

In a Software Advice blog on this topic, the author identified three primary benefits to talent mapping:

  1. Helps close skills gaps – by providing a needed framework with an inventory of desired skills, skills gaps analysis, and steps to fulfill future skill needs.
  2. Helps identify key roles within the organization – including employees with high-impact contributions at every level of the organization.
  3. Improves transparency into career advancement opportunities for employees – as managers and employees engage in conversations about career development.

A Paychex blog identified these additional benefits:

  1. Reduced time to hire – especially if you can find someone for a role before the vacancy is posted.
  2. Identifying stars and future leaders – which helps to retain key employees and develop their skill sets critical for your future business success.
  3. Conserved hiring resources – by prioritizing open positions that will have the biggest impact on company growth.
  4. Greater return on hiring investment – by increasing the tenure of the employees you have and hire.

We would add one more:

  1. Smarter business decisions – based on competency data. When your senior leaders are confident about how prepared and productive your workforce is today and how well your team is preparing for your future, you can make faster, better business decisions.
Talent Mapping Tools

In addition to online skills assessments, the Software Advice blog identifies talent management software as an essential tool for talent mapping. “This type of software allows organizations to track and manage employee skills, competencies, and career paths. It can also help with performance evaluations, goal setting, and succession planning.”

Look for a flexible and robust software solution, such as Avilar’s WebMentor Skills™, which is built to assess, track, and manage skills and competencies – so you have instant insight into the strengths and gaps of your workforce talent. Ideally, you’ll track the skills of current and past employees, so you can mine the data for insights across departments, managers, teams, and individuals to best understand the talent impact of your people, processes, and tactics.


To find out how a skills and competency-focused approach to business decisions can be the underpinning of your comprehensive talent mapping initiative, download our Competency Management Toolkit for insights. Or contact us to find out how Avilar’s WebMentor Skills™ competency management systems could support your team.


Why Successful Upskilling Requires the Right Skills Assessment Tools
How Can Competency Management Help with Hiring Internal Candidates?
Skills-Based Talent Management. What is it? Why is it Important?
How to Create Learning Opportunities for the Full Employee Lifecycle