Talent Strategy

Talent Strategy + Business Strategy = Competitive Advantage

Attracting high-performing people to any endeavor is challenging. Keeping them is even more difficult. On average, 47 percent of high-performing employees left their companies in 2019, the year before the arrival of COVID-19. In 2021, over 47 million more citizens (just in the US) voluntarily quit their jobs.

The replacement of high performers is an enormous drain on time, energy, and money. And that is before considering the impact on the organization’s functioning. And, of course, it is nearly impossible to raise organizational performance with a team of average and below-average performers.

More than 25 percent of the respondents of a large McKinsey & Company survey cited “uncaring/uninspiring leaders,” “unreliable/unsupportive colleagues,” “lack of workplace flexibility,” and “lack of support for health and well-being,” as reasons for quitting their jobs. The human factor.
Why are people quitting their jobs most common reasons

Why people are quitting their jobs.

The number one reason, though, was “lack of career development and advancement,” which was cited by more than 40 percent of respondents. How bad and how long does that “lack” have to be and go on before the best choice is jumping ship?

The Predictive Index surveyed 600 executives across 20 industries to understand their views of talent strategy—the relationship between talent optimization and organizational performance.[1] Here are some of the highlights.

People are a company’s highest expense and most valuable assets for most organizations. Those surveyed reported that 64 percent of total company costs are labor and attributed 72 percent of their company’s value to their employees. The executives also said that, on average, they spent 61 percent of their time on “people problems.”

Despite these facts, a talent strategy that is integrated with the business strategy is not the rule. Thirty-six percent said their organization has a talent strategy of some kind. However, fewer than 25 percent could say, “We have a documented talent strategy that is understood throughout the organization,” or, “Our core values align with the business strategy, and we intentionally align our organizational structure with it,” or “We have the right people throughout the company to execute our business strategy.”

A mere 12 percent of companies indicated alignment between their talent strategy and their business strategy by answering “yes” to the following: “We have a talent strategy.” “We have a business strategy.” “Our talent strategy is completely aligned with our business strategy.”

A purposeful approach to talent development and management is no less important than the strategy for achieving the mission and purposes of the organization, the leadership strategy (values and principles), and the intentional measurement of the organization’s performance and well-being. Leaders intent on leveraging competitive differentiators will exploit the synergies among them.

This is not intended as a deep dive into developing a comprehensive talent strategy. A talent strategy should, however, take into consideration some or all these elements: sourcing and recruiting, selection, onboarding, training and development, engagement, career management, team development, performance management and measurement, rewards, and recognition. There are many online resources under searches for “talent strategy” and “talent optimization,” which could help guide your way.

As mentioned, 64 percent of the companies surveyed in The Predictive Index research do not have a talent strategy. Among those having one, just 12 percent believe that their business strategy and approach to talent are aligned. If you could guide your organization to be among the 12 percent of those organizations with business and talent objectives aligned, you could have a significant competitive advantage.

A deep understanding of even the basics of hiring and retaining key talent is not in every leader’s wheelhouse. Therefore, it may be tempting to leave the specifics to “experts.” However, a committed leader cannot leave the management of this significant investment in people exclusively to others.

Gaining insight through work with leadership coaches is finding its way to the top of organizations everywhere. I have been fortunate to be on the giving and receiving end of this kind of coaching. It is a way to remove a leader’s blindfold of biases and limitations relating to talent. As a coach guides a leader in expanding their empathy, such as learning rigorous listening and compassionate communication skills, they will be able to assimilate those techniques into their approaches to all aspects of their leadership.

Greater engagement with and cultivation of talent serves productivity, teamwork, happiness, self-awareness, affiliation, recognition, attraction, and retention. For those leaders committed to operational and financial success through expanding their humanness as leaders, this is an excellent reason to invest in self-development.

~ ~Will Keiper, co-author (with Steve Chandler) of The Leader and The Coach—The Art of Humanity in Leadership

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Credit: This is a blog post by Will Keiper at www.theleaderandthecoach.com


[1] https://media.predictiveindex.com/legacy/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/TO_Benchmarking_Report.pdf Of the 600 senior leaders surveyed, 200 held the role of CEO or president. The remaining 400 were SVPs, VPs, or other members of the executive team.

The Leader & The Coach by Steve Chandler & Will Keiper
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