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, future direction and vision. 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 mind-set will drive innovation, employee retention and achievement of business outcomes.
However, there are many obstacles to obtaining the ideal stage. The workplace and the workforce are both changing. There is a new mix of employees, including Generation Z, rapidly rising millennials, Generation X taking over the C-suite, career swappers, project 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 with their company and that aligns with their personal values.
All of these elements must connect with each other. This is where integration comes in to 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 vs. truly valuing the practice for what it brings to both self and the organization together.
Organizations always benefit from being self-reflective and human potential growth oriented. Coaching also plays a key role if an organization can offer it. If that is an option, it must be well done and at all levels of management including the executive leadership team.
Here are some recommendations for moving toward 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 decisionmakers. 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. Devise a 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.
Too many organizations end up making zero-sum decisions when faced with such challenges. However, there is hope. It can be done.
Marcella de la Torre teaches courses at the University of St. Thomas Opus College of Business. Michael Grubich is the president of the LAK Group.