How Talent Strategy Impacts Business Performance in the Current Market

Whether recovering from an economic downturn, reopening after a pandemic, or managing through any type of crisis, waiting too long to discuss the future and planning your talent needs will impact the sustainability of the business and retention of valuable contributors. The key question business leaders need to be asking is, do we plan for short-term recovery or for long-term, change-resilient sustainability?

Organizations that want to stay competitive in today’s market need to take an integrated approach when developing their people (talent) strategy, including alignment with the overall business strategy. Companies must find that dynamic place where business strategy and human strategy meet. This includes developing a sustainable pipeline of talent and effectively managing this talent. This growth mindset will drive innovation, employee retention and achievement of business outcomes.

However, there are some obstacles that need to be overcome. Both the workplace and the workforce are changing. There is a new mix of employees, including Generation Z, rapidly rising millennials, Generation X taking over the C-suite, career swappers, gig workers and people re-entering the workforce. Each is emotionally and intellectually ready for a new way of working and all have different needs or expectations. This new workforce operates under a new employment contract. They no longer want to just “come to work.” They want to be part of something – purpose-based work that is mutually beneficial for their company and aligns with their personal values. 

Talent Processes to Leverage

There are a number of talent processes that organizations can leverage to build an integrated talent strategy. Here are a few of the most common.

  • Workforce Planning (based on the organization structure and business objectives): This core process helps identify skills gaps. It should include critical role identification based on business needs, talent forecasting, critical talent assessment and staffing model planning.
  • Capability and Competency Management: This establishes a foundation for all elements of talent management including creating job profiles that align core competencies, expected behaviors, desired experiences and important skills for key positions in the organization.
  • Talent Acquisition: This includes sourcing candidate pools, assessment, building and communicating the employer brand, recruiting, selection, onboarding and developing a process for talent mobility.
  • Leadership Development: The organization must identify and develop skills gaps in their leaders and then leverage development programs, coaching and other practical experiences.
  • Career Management: Continuous development of the professional staff and emerging talent is key to building a sustainable and diverse pipeline of talent. This area is often lacking resources and is undervalued but is key to helping supply the pipeline of future leaders.
  • Performance Management: This begins with goal alignment and clarity around expectations of performance. Leaders then need to coach and support the growth and development of their teams to maximize efficiency and performance results.
  • Succession Management: This includes identification and development of key talent for critical roles in the organization. The output is a succession plan that should address both the senior and middle levels in the organization.
  • Total Rewards: Rewards must align with the overall approach to talent management. It is critical the correct behaviors and performance are rewarded.

All of these elements must connect with each other. This is where integration comes into play.  If they are out of alignment, it will cause stress in the organization and confusion for both leaders and employees of the company. The result is people simply “checking the box” when they complete required steps versus truly valuing the practice for what it brings to both self and the organization.

5 Steps Organizations Can Take to Create an Integrated Talent Strategy

  1. Define a Talent Management Philosophy. It is important to acknowledge the challenges faced by the organization from a talent perspective, how these align with the overall business strategy and what needs to be done to address these challenges.
  2. Identify the Critical Talent Management Processes. Talent strategy includes succession planning, performance management, onboarding and retention, talent development and coaching, diversity and inclusion, leading change and workforce planning, and many other elements. The key is to identify which are the most important to the success of the business.
  3. Incorporate a Talent Management System. Technology simplifies processes and exposes the organization to valuable data to assist decision-makers. There are various talent management systems available in the market. Some are offered as part of the larger enterprise resource planning platform and some are boutique independent systems.
  4. Activate Talent Review Committees. Talent management must be the accountability of the organization, not human resources. The goal for these committees is governance and leadership. They should focus on talent management progress and overall success of the organization, while also identifying potential risk and mitigation strategies.
  5. Dynamic Scorecard of Talent Metrics. Identify a balanced outlook for leading and lagging indicators. Start by identifying talent metrics that link to business outcomes and retention of key talent. Be sure to integrate diversity and equity factors into your talent metrics.

The journey to a “game-changing” talent strategy is rife with complexity and ambiguity. How can strategy and culture connect? How can the strategy be global and local at the same time? How can leaders be more agile and constantly open to shaping direction of the organization? Too many organizations end up making zero-sum decisions when faced with such challenges.

The important thing is to start. If you want to talk through how to take the first steps, contact us.