What Is Talent Mapping and How Can Engineering Managers Utilize It to Plan for the Future?

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Bruna Vasconcelos
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Bruna Vasconcelos
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Organizations in the tech industry utilize talent mapping to improve future planning and recruitment strategies.
Published on
March 26, 2024
Updated on
May 8, 2024

Talent mapping is a practice that helps organizations understand and improve their talent landscape. It involves a comprehensive analysis of a company’s workforce, allowing management to assess the staff’s capabilities and identify gaps. Through talent mapping, companies ensure they have the right talent to meet current and future market demands.

Engineering managers significantly benefit from talent mapping — because new advancements and shifts in the market constantly change the demands of the tech industry, managers must have software development plans that allow their teams to adapt without losing momentum. With talent mapping, engineering managers proactively work to optimize team performance and prepare for disruptive technologies.

What Is Talent Mapping?

Organizations use talent mapping as a strategic process to identify their workforce’s current skills, experience, and potential and the steps needed to improve them. Talent mapping helps companies determine where they have skill gaps and what long-term measures they may take to meet these demands. Using talent mapping as a proactive approach allows an organization to align its recruitment strategy with its goals and objectives, helping navigate challenges such as succession planning and talent shortages.

Talent mapping is one aspect of a broader talent management strategy. Other related concepts include skills and competency mapping, which differ from talent mapping in scope and objectives. Skills mapping in tech involves Human Resources (HR) management taking stock of employees' specific technical and hard skills and developing a plan to upskill current employees or hire additional staff to fill skill gaps. Competency mapping is a broader version of skills mapping as it considers the specific skills, behaviors, and attitudes employees need to perform their roles successfully and contribute to meeting organizational goals.

Talent mapping differs from competency and skills mapping because it focuses on the recruitment process and future planning. Talent mapping considers the current attributes, competencies, and skills needed to perform roles and anticipates how these requirements will change over time. Management then utilizes talent mapping to determine how the evolution of these roles may align with future business strategy and digital innovation objectives.

Why Talent Mapping Is Critical in Tech

When new technological advancements and methodologies unexpectedly shift a company’s business strategy, organizations must have adaptable plans to remain competitive. As the industry evolves, specific skills and competencies may become less relevant, paving the way for new proficiencies that companies must incorporate. For example, the emergence and adoption of generative artificial intelligence in several industries continues to both disrupt and enhance workflows. Organizations on the cutting edge of this trend and those with the resources to recruit new talent are hiring AI developers equipped to meet market demands.

Talent mapping enables engineering managers to prepare for and adjust their talent strategies to align with industry demands — it informs overall talent acquisition strategy and helps proactively identify expertise that will likely be crucial for future projects. Ultimately, building tech teams correctly will drive innovation and enhance competitiveness.

Benefits of a Talent Map

There are several key advantages for companies that utilize talent maps. Talent maps help to make engineering teams more efficient by properly aligning roles. This process maximizes each employee’s strengths and also lets management assess how well the team adjusts to meet future needs in its current state.

Recruitment and Hiring

Talent mapping allows management to gain a clear overall picture of their current staff’s capabilities and competencies. By identifying current and potential future talent gaps, HR management is able to take steps to meet all project and team structure needs through recruitment and hiring.

With the insights provided by talent mapping, management works to build a robust talent pipeline that will meet future organizational needs. Management may also proactively cultivate relationships with potential candidates by identifying and understanding the future skills and roles the company will need.

Resource Allocation

Utilizing talent mapping allows managers to determine the most efficient resource planning to meet organizational goals and objectives. Because talent maps detail each employee's skills, competencies, and potential, management makes informed decisions about where each employee fits best.

When management correctly distributes roles on an engineering team, it increases productivity. The quality of work and collaboration will increase because there is alignment between a team member's competencies and responsibilities. Talent-mapped teams require fewer resources to problem-solve, innovate, and execute projects.

Career Development

While talent maps help identify an engineering team's current attributes, competencies, and skill sets, they also provide a roadmap for development opportunities. Engineering team members must constantly develop their skills to remain relevant amidst the fluctuating demands of the tech industry. Talent mapping helps team members expand their capabilities to help the company and provides an opportunity for career growth and success in new roles.

Organizations that provide their workforces with development opportunities, such as training or mentoring programs, benefit from creating a culture of continuous learning. This investment in the staff often leads to other advantages, such as improved employee engagement, productivity, and company culture.

Succession Planning

One of the main objectives of creating a talent map is facilitating succession planning or guiding current employees into leadership positions. Alongside retaining talent, it’s an essential practice that ensures a company's health and long-term stability.

Management determines which team members would thrive in a leadership role by utilizing talent mapping to identify individuals with the necessary competencies to fill the positions. Talent mapping also alerts management to the developmental needs of potential successors so that they may implement targeted programs. These programs act as catalysts for career advancement, ensuring the retention of valuable employees.

Risk Mitigation

Talent mapping also helps with risk mitigation. One of the most significant challenges that companies in the tech industry face is dealing with a lack of talent due to rapid changes. Talent mapping allows organizations to face these challenges head-on by upskilling current employees or cultivating a talent pipeline to fill projected roles as they open.

Talent mapping also identifies negative characteristics, such as reduced enthusiasm and decreased productivity. Management may be able to take steps to rectify the situation. These insights allow the organization to address the situation proactively and make an informed decision that won’t cause disruptions to the team or organization.

Steps to Implement Talent Mapping on Engineering Teams

Engineering managers must implement talent mapping to keep a competitive edge and prepare for unexpected future advancements in the tech industry. Teams that minimize talent gaps and assign employees to roles that play to their strengths are more likely to succeed. Management and team leads may conduct talent planning initiatives efficiently by following a strategic process. 

1. Identify Current Business Goals and Objectives

Management must clearly define the current business goals and objectives to determine the best way to organize talent. Employment managers can segment these aims into software developer goals to align team efforts and prioritize talent development needs. A comprehensive understanding of the business strategy will also help managers determine the benchmarks and metrics to measure the success of the talent mapping process.

2. Assess Current Talent Capabilities

Assessing employees' current talent capabilities requires management to gather and analyze vast data. HR professionals may utilize data sources for talent mapping, including job descriptions, performance metrics, employee feedback, training records, and external sources, such as market data and competitor analysis.

Engineering managers also conduct skills assessments, performance reviews, and interviews to better understand each individual's strengths and potential. Management then uses these insights to inform targeted development plans and recruitment strategies to meet organizational demands.

3. Develop Talent Strategies

Tech hiring teams and management may also compare the talent capabilities of their workforce with ideal candidates to discover skill and talent gaps they must address. With this information, they can develop a comprehensive plan that involves upskilling the existing workforce to take on roles in leadership and hiring new candidates to fill open positions. This mix of reshaping roles and bringing in new talent should address future gap concerns and align with upcoming technical advancements.

4. Implement and Adjust the Talent Plan

Once management has established the talent strategies, implementation begins. Employees can start attending targeted development programs to enhance their abilities and prepare for future roles and projects. The HR department may also initiate recruitment efforts to find candidates with the skill sets and competencies required for future organizational success.

The talent plan should act as a framework, and management should adjust as needed. As the company evolves, business goals may change, and new technologies may shift the overall strategy. Engineering managers should remain adaptable, studying the metrics and benchmarks to determine the most effective approaches to maintain efficiency.

Overcoming Challenges in Talent Mapping

While talent mapping benefits future planning, it comes with some challenges. From the amount of resources allocated to the process to dealing with unexpected shifts in the industry, managers need to plan to overcome several issues in the talent mapping process. Some of the common challenges that occur in talent mapping include:

  • Technological advancements: Rapid technological advancements may unexpectedly shift an organization’s needs. Utilizing advanced analytics and new tech, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, assists in predicting future trends and skill requirements.
  • Identifying future needs: While talent mapping gives management insights into the organization’s needs, it can’t predict the future. Adopting flexible workforce planning approaches and building a diverse talent pool helps management adapt to different scenarios.
  • Resource allocation: Talent acquisition and developing current employees require significant resources. Leveraging specialized talent mapping tools and software helps streamline and automate parts of the process.
  • Tracking development: Management may find it difficult to determine the success of the development and junior mentoring programs immediately. By taking actions such as creating personalized development plans for each employee and implementing a system that facilitates continuous feedback, management is better able to gauge the effects of the process.

Hire Talent To Meet Your Development Goals

Talent mapping is a beneficial practice that strengthens engineering teams by ensuring all team members are in the best roles to meet the organization’s needs. While many individuals fill skill gaps through development programs and upskilling, companies often need to hire new candidates outside of their current workforce.

The process of recruiting and hiring developers diverts resources from strategic business operations. Utilizing a talent marketplace like Revelo helps companies save time and money while connecting with top-tier developers.

At Revelo, we help with talent sourcing and matching high-level developers with businesses so they can meet their organizational goals. Our deep talent pool consists of pre-vetted Latin American developers who meet high-tech and soft skills standards. Because our developers are from Latin America, they are time-zone-aligned to work with companies in North America.  

When businesses hire top talent through Revelo, we assist in onboarding duties, such as payroll, taxes, benefits administration, and local compliance. We also offer support throughout the developer’s tenure with your company to ensure continued engagement and retention.

Learn more about how Revelo can help your company hire developers to meet your project goals.

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