Recruitment trends
May 9, 2023
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How to do talent mapping in 6 simple steps? Free template to download

How to do talent mapping in 6 simple steps? Free template to download

Hiring is no longer just a reactive game; it has turned out to be a proactive necessity for companies. In recent years, one of the most inefficient processes in recruitment is preparing for the hiring steps, after a vacancy opens up. It is very hard to find and hire highly skilled people for highly demandable, scarce roles where your company’s success depends on those important hires' contributions.  

This is why cultivating the efforts today for tomorrow’s successful hires is very important. That is precisely what the talent mapping process enables you to do. Talent mapping helps you evaluate future talent needs, assess existing employees’ viability, source high-potential people in the funnel, and develop strategic plans to identify and fill talent gaps in your company.

Let’s dive into the details of what talent mapping is and the easy steps to incorporate it for your company.

What is talent mapping?

Talent mapping is a continuous evaluation process of assessing the current workforce’s potential against the upcoming business goals and finding out the talent gaps that need to be closed, both by hiring from outside and cultivating existing employees.

One of the key aspects of talent mapping is categorizing people based on their performance and potential and identifying the high-potential employees in the existing workforce. So that these employees can be aligned to lead the future projects and it also can help plan the training and development activities to enhance the capabilities of other employees.

Unlike other activities, this is not a one-time activity. Based on your organization's goals and the current pool of resources, it is a proactive measure and an iterative process that requires regular execution.

Why should you include the talent mapping process in your recruitment?

Talent mapping is a very crucial part of any organization’s talent acquisition strategy. More than just recruiting to meet present short-term demands, the only thing that helps tackle future talent requirements and face other unanticipated scenarios in the long run is talent mapping.

To leverage the existing workforce’s capabilities to the maximum and to project future human resources needs, talent mapping is very essential for any organization. Inclusion of a talent mapping process in the organization can result in increased employee retention, better performance, and employee satisfaction, while also helping to achieve a higher return on investment (ROI) in hiring efforts.

Benefits of Talent mapping

  • Identifying gaps and opportunities: To clearly understand the existing resources and skill gaps to achieve the business goals, talent mapping helps a lot. By identifying the gaps and opportunities, you can uncover a lot of insights to plan for resource allocation, either internally or through external hiring.
  • Alignment with business goals: It is very important to ensure that your talent acquisition strategy is aligned with the business goals; otherwise, the talent hunt efforts won’t be beneficial for the company. By correlating available and needed resources with the business goals, you will get a clear picture of whether you are aligned in the right way or not.
  • Recognizing the stars in your workforce: Based on the factors of performance and potential, talent mapping helps you categorize your workforce so you can easily identify the low, medium, and high performers. This helps in making decisions about which employees need to be guided, offered opportunities for advancement, moved to leadership positions, etc.
  • Retaining top talent: Rewarding high performing employees at the right time can help retain employees and maintain a positive environment. Talent mapping helps classify people based on their performance. By rewarding the right people with new opportunities and promotions, top talent can be retained in the company for a longer period of time.
  • Improved learning and developement (L&D) strategies: Talent mapping helps recruiters analyze which skills and knowledge the resources lack. In this way, HRs can take appropriate measures by offering learning and development activities to cultivate existing talent.Talent mapping helps recruiters analyze which skills and knowledge the resources lack. In this way, HRs can take appropriate measures by offering learning and development activities to cultivate the existing talent.
  • Effective prioritization of opening roles: Finding out about the open position even before the vacancy arises helps a lot to streamline the hiring process in a more efficient way. Also, it helps to effectively prioritize the openings based on the projected impact on the business goals.
  • Improved talent acquisition strategies: With a knowledge base of valuable factors like talent gaps, prioritization, and clarity towards future goals, recruiting teams can develop better talent acquisition strategies to fill their talent pipeline.
  • Higher ROI per hire: To hire a potential candidate, the company needs to make a huge investment of time, effort, and money. As long as the employee stays in an organization for a longer period, the return on investment for every hire will be highly positive.
  • Reduced time to hire: As the talent map helps in finding the necessary resources for future hiring, recruiting teams can plan in advance, resulting in a reduced time to hire.
  • Competitive talent market intelligence: Not only does talent mapping aid in internal analysis. It involves a research process to understand various factors like competitors’ recruitment strategies, organizational structures, employer brand reputations, specific roles where top talents are incorporated, etc. This helps to get an extra edge in competitive intelligence, which the recruiting teams can implement for their organization’s efforts.
  • Smooth succession planning: Succession planning involves identifying the critical roles in an organization and determining which potential employees or candidates would be suitable to handle those roles. Unlike other roles, recruiting for these roles always requires some extra effort in terms of time, quality, and the selection process.

6 simple steps to create your Talent mapping (with actionable examples):


Having a deep understanding of a company’s trajectory and goals is very important for a  recruiter. By having discussions with the C-suite executives in your organization, you will have a clear picture of your company’s projected goals in the upcoming quarters and years.

Following are the questions you can ask to determine the company’s growth track:

  1. What’s the company’s projected growth in the next 6 months, 1 year, or 3 years?
  2. How many human resources would be required to achieve this particular goal?
  3. How are we going to expand the mid-level and top-level leadership management?
  4. How much investment are we ready to make in workforce expansion?

Reverse-engineer the goals and assess the talent needs that you need to reach the projected goals. Hold discussions with the team leaders of every department to identify any talent gaps or bottlenecks. Using the analyzed reports, determine whether organizational restructuring is required or not. 

Once you’ve covered the above, you will get an overview and easily jump into the following steps to create your talent mapping. 

1. Create ICPs

An ICP (ideal candidate profile) is a data sheet where all the necessary key details of a role are listed to acquire a particular talent.

By developing the ICP, the recruiter can deeply understand the essential details, such as the position's skill set, pay range, years of experience, education, and professional background.It is essential to speak with the team supervisors and the personnel who will almost certainly perform the defined position in close proximity in order to establish these ICPs. The more specifics you provide about the position, the easier it will be for you to find the right candidate who fits the role.

2. Assess your current workforce’s potential and performance

Talent mapping is all about clearly knowing the talent demand and matching it with the supply, which is done through the existing workforce and external hiring efforts.


Importance vs. scarcity graph

By correlating the critical importance and availability in the market, you can easily classify and create a graph of importance vs. scarcity. After creating this graph, map your existing employees into each quadrant based on their skills and relevance to your organization's goals.

By doing this, you can get a classified view of whom to include and exclude. Once this step of employee mapping with graphs is done, you should start collecting talent data by extracting the potential data of mapped employees.

Skills vs. Time to readiness graph

This step is to evaluate our talent supply for the critical skills and determine how much readiness the existing talent pool has to be deployed for the business.The time to readiness is simply the amount of time it will take an employee to become an expert in that skill. Time-to-readiness data can be gathered from the previous performance ratings, outcomes, and discussions with the managers.

By correlating this data with the skills, you will get the following categories:

  •  Immediate deployment

These people are a perfect fit in terms of skills and readiness, and they can be immediately deployed to their respective roles.

  • Long-term investment

Though these employees are skilled, due to a certain lag in readiness, they need some kind of development program to incubate and nurture their future development. So, they are not ready to deploy immediately, but they will surely be helpful for future growth.

  • Potential future talent

This category includes people with good potential but lagging skills. By including them in the stretch assignments and skills development program, there are high chances for this set of people to shine and propel the organization down the line in a few years.

  • Development needed

This set refers to the individuals who are not skilled and are lagging in potential due to various factors. By consulting with them, you can decide what steps need to be taken, such as whether they need to be included in development programs or need to be excluded.


3. Determine the hiring needs

With the right efforts on collecting the above data points, you can easily come to the conclusion that, for which skills you need to put high hiring efforts and the time needed to fill the position, etc. This will give you clarity on how you can wisely spend your time on the top critical roles that the company is in high need of.


4. Watch over your competitors

Apart from the above internal works in the organization, there are a few yet significant external steps needed in the talent mapping process. That is, competitor analysis.

Nowadays, it is vital to make your company the first choice for talent, and that requires an effective competitor assessment. You need to analyze how the top companies are approaching the hiring process, the tactics they use, the interview assessments they use, and the candidate experience they are offering.

Knowing other data points like organization structure, positions, roles, and responsibilities, how much time it takes for a critical role to get closed, etc., can help you a lot in strategizing. Competitor analysis not only helps with recruitment; it also gives ideas on how to retain the existing talent and maximize its potential.

E.g., if a clear career growth track has been setup in the competitor company, like by offering a leadership role with enticing responsibilities, etc., it will lead your current employees to make a switch.

With proper research on data points like those above, you can easily avoid such types of happenings in your company.

The whole objective is to analyse how your competitors are growing, their strategies, how they are planning for current and future needs, how the top talents are getting hired for the highly demandable skillsets, etc., and incorporate that information into your talent mapping process.


5. Create a database of passive candidates

If you haven’t included passive recruitment strategies in your recruitment process, then it’s time to rethink. Especially for the highly critical and scarce kinds of roles that are most demandable for the company’s success, passive recruitment can be the optimal way to hire top talents. But to execute that, you need to have a clear list of candidates whom you are going to reach.

Create your passive candidate database by doing proactive research on various platforms like Linkedin, Github, etc. to identify the key players in your industry niche. Once the list has been created, you can proactively reach out, engage, and build relationships with the candidates for your future recruitment needs. By doing this for a certain timeframe consistently, you will get an extra edge by having a ready-to-go talent pool, which can eventually translate into future hiring.

This may or may not have an immediate impact, but it surely will help you in the long run with the best people on board at the right time.

Talent CRM tools can help you out in this process by automating the reach-outs and easy sourcing using features like sequences, playbooks, etc.


6. Assess your future needs

The talent mapping efforts directly impact getting a clear picture of what talent the company needs to match its roadmap and future goals. Because, based on the goals projected for the next 2–5 years, your current team may need people with specific skill sets within a certain time frame. With the dynamic business and current talent market, it is very hard to fill the position soon, once the demand has been raised.

As long as the time to fill positions remains increasing, it will negatively impact the existing team and the company’s projected goals. To tackle these hurdles, including a talent mapping function in your recruitment process can help you determine your company’s growth track easily and enable you to hire the right talent at the right time with proactive measures.

Challenges you’ll encounter while Talent mapping 

  1. Demands a lot of quantitative and qualitative data

It is impossible to craft an effective talent map without the necessary data about the employees and processes in place across the company. But in reality, it is quite uncertain because most of the company's data management system is broken, which leads to difficulties in extracting the necessary data required for the mapping. Any way, it is good to start with the core requirements: the company’s projected and goal, needed talent, and available talent report.

  1. Need to convince the leadership and other key stakeholders

Proper talent mapping execution requires company-wide commitment and coordination from all the teams and leaders. It is important to consider talent mapping as a significant strategic effort and have every team member contribute responsibly.

To start the process, it is best to begin with the top-level leaders. It helps you understand the company’s goals and their priorities. In the subsequent steps, you can proceed with the managers and other team leads to collect the data about the execution team members. It is important to notify and allocate time amid the workloads for the necessary assessments with the leaders and team members.

  1. Difficulties in balancing between daily workload and development programmes

One of the crucial parts of talent mapping is the skills development program. Though it is a healthy measure to consider the employees' skill improvement, there will be some hurdles in the real-time implementation. This is because the employees already have their workloads and meeting schedules. Convincing the team leads and members to balance their time and efforts for taking part in the development programs is pretty hard to implement.

  1. A considerable number of employees turn over

With the skills vs. time to readiness mapping, a certain number of employees will be classified as not worth pursuing one. In addition to this category of employees, even other employees who are pursuing well also have chances to turn around. The reason this is happening is because of the changes in the teams, environment, responsibilities, etc. It is unavoidable, yet, considering the company’s long-term growth, there is no other choice but to effectively utilize the existing workforce’s capabilities.

Despite the challenges and huge efforts needed to implement, a successful inclusion of the talent mapping process will have a great ROI in the long term for the organization’s growth. Especially for fast-growing companies, where they need to adapt to the dynamic changes every quarter and have a stable, talented workforce, only talent mapping can help maintain a sustainable balance between retaining the existing workforce and future hiring. Overall, talent mapping helps a lot and acts as a pillar in the recruitment strategies by identifying the talent gaps, retaining talent, and aligning the talent pipeline with the future goals of the organization.

Download the Talent mapping template here:

By investing in talent mapping, you can ensure to have the right people in the right roles, promote employee development, and build a strong pipeline of future leaders.

Get yourself a copy here of the talent mapping template, where you will get an idea of how to classify your existing workforce using the “Potential vs. Performance” nine grid matrix. Through this, you can easily categorize your employees under various categories like core, star, bad performers, etc., which will help you make decisions on the skill development program and provide rewards for the deserving people, as well as identify the upcoming leaders of the organization.

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