Building a Sound 2023 Talent Strategy

1. Your Business And Money

Founders, answer this part out loud to your leadership team for alignment.

2. Business Outcomes > Hiring Goals

Hiring is not a goal.

  • Development: growing and engaging your current team members
  • Transitioning: moving people into new roles
  • Reducing: RIFs, layoffs or furloughs
  • Outsourcing: Using temporary or service providers for flexibility

3. Market Conditions

Depending on the industry, you might look to extend runway and delay a funding round or capitalize on the macroeconomic downturn by hiring newly available tech talent.


  • Reduced Competition
    Particularly at junior and mid-levels
  • Less Voluntary Turnover
    Which is nice, but not an excuse to stop on culture/engagement initiatives
  • Team Bonding
    When handled well, nothing bonds a team like overcoming a shared challenge


  • Fear
    Fear is a major distraction. Your team can’t get creative or flex from a place of fear.
  • Brand Blowback
    Reducing team size puts your brand under a microscope, so if you need to, part ways but do so with generosity and kindness.
  • Talent Constraints
    In particular at the senior level where people who can, and are, willing to work at both a strategic and tactical level. For example, an engineer manager who can get in the weeds. Don’t assume that everyone will be easy to hire.
  • Applicant Saturation
    More applicants doesn’t always translate to more qualified applicants, so your team may spend more time than usual in reviewing resumes.
  • Recruiting Challenges
    Top candidates, especially those with significant tenure in their current organization, may be fearful to make a move and be tougher to recruit than you anticipate. Give yourself enough time to find, screen and onboard the right person.

4. Planning Blueprint

Plans should be built around the best current and future employees.

Map with goals across the top and sections for each category.
Cycle of the Talent Journey including: employer brand, engagement, selection process, onboarding, development + performance management, offboarding, alumni and back to employer brand.

4. Making A First Draft Plan

  1. Ruthlessly label every idea as either “must-have” or “nice-to-have.”
  2. Rank the “must-have” in order of importance, no ties allowed.
  3. Visualize each by time horizon from immediate to long-term. Long-term in your business may be 5 years or 1 year. Use a scale that makes sense. Doing this visually will help give perspective of bandwidth as you build out ideas.
Timeline including Now, 6 months, 1 year and general “Future” category

5. Assign Clear Accountability And Schedule Tests.

If talent retention is “everyone’s job,” it quite quickly becomes no one’s job.

6. Iterate

Remember those check-ins you set in step 5? Those are also a chance to make changes as needed. If the goals have changed, so should the plans. The distance between reality and your plan is the answer to whether it’s time to adjust or start the planning over.



People person. CEO at newance. Exclamation point enthusiast!

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