Data driven talent management – a case study


Aster Group is a housing group of approx. 1200 employees. A group-wide HR function had in place uniform policies and practices. There were areas of excellent practice in terms of provision of learning and development and employee engagement.

In my role as Learning & Development Lead, I was aware of the below issues and sought a way to bring them altogether.


Although there were great initiatives and programmes that were well-respected and a key part of the organisation’s culture, there were gaps in an approach to an overall talent strategy. I felt that a more holistic approach to talent management, one that was data driven, would support the delivery of the HR strategy and identify gaps in provision. Key issues I was aware of included:

  • There was no overall talent map of what the whole organisation would need going forward. Future needs were put together at the company level but there was no formal co-ordination between the group companies. This meant good people would leave for career progression when they could have moved to another company within the group.
  • Recruitment was localized and there was little or no joined up thinking when there were recurring vacancies or hard to fill positions e.g. encouraging movement from other parts of the group.
  • We were required to provide performance measures to create a balanced scorecard for group companies.
  • A LEAN process carried out on the new recruitment system/processes suggested that ongoing measures should be in place.
  • There were lots of areas of good practice such as training programmes and initiatives where there was feedback on the programmes but not on the wider impacts across the organisation. There were also likely ‘successes’ that weren’t being evidenced through data, such as a high number of successful secondment opportunities. In other areas there was anecdotal evidence to suggest good outcomes, such as the link to promotions for those that had gone through internal management programmes, but there was no evidence being captured and shared in a way that was meaningful.


Awareness raising and stakeholder buy-in

I began with some general awareness raising activities, including delivering a ‘Managing Your Talent’ training course which involved senior members of the HR team and senior leaders across the business. The aim of this was to raise awareness of the importance of effective workforce planning and talent strategies, as well as to begin a discussion around what ‘talent’ meant for our organisation.

Creating a framework

With HR colleagues, we created our own Talent Management model, called the ‘Talent Management Wheel’. This model was helpful for us because it brought together all the elements across HR and L&D into one framework. Once we had the framework, we looked at what we had in place in each area, and what measures we had. We identified that we had lots of activities, but we were not producing metrics that covered the full TM Wheel, instead producing a very limited range of data on ‘traditional’ HR activities such as starters & leavers, and training course attendance and satisfaction.

Meaningful metrics

I set up a working group made up of colleagues to represent each of the areas of the TM Wheel to enable us to review metrics currently in place, identify the gaps in information and come up with new metrics where needed. We met monthly to report on progress. I had to coach individuals on the working group, often system administrators, on how to present data in meaningful ways. As a starting point for identifying suitable metrics, we used a model from the CIPD. After one year’s data collection I produced infographics which captured the ‘story’ behind key data. After two years we had more data and more stories to tell.

Succession Planning

The TM project coincided with a need to support key areas of the business with succession planning. A succession planning model had been created and piloted with one area of the business and then introduced across the whole organisation. Colleagues worked with areas of the business to establish risk levels for identified roles, whether emergency cover/permanent cover was in place. We created our own custom SP tool with spreadsheet data entry and corresponding graphs and talent maps. Colleagues met with management teams to review the results and implement action plans where needed. Links were made with the Performance Management system that utilized a section on career development to find out what employee’s interests and aspirations were.

Projects implemented as a result of TM Project:

Executive Development

We identified a gap in skills development at the executive level. With this in mind, I created a bespoke 360 process for executives. This was done drawing on our existing Director behavioural framework. All executives went through the 360 process and had a custom training plan put together.

Graduate programme

An outcome of the Talent Management work was to scope out the foundations for a graduate scheme. I did this and was in the process of working out the detail at the time of leaving Aster.

Reward Project

My HR colleagues picked up on the need to take a fresh look at approaches to reward and began a project for a comprehensive review.


This case- study demonstrate the track record of the founders and directors of Talentstorm Ltd and was not performed under the Talentstorm trading entity.


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