Paradigm shift

Does your talent model measure up? Three strategies for success

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It is one thing to understand an urgent need for change, but quite another to implement it.

There is much to do, but to prepare for tomorrow’s business climate, companies cannot afford to do less.

Most businesses inherently understand the connection between employee performance and organizational performance. Yet they do not invest adequately in talent management.

Many find it difficult to quantify the return on this substantial investment. How can businesses maximize this return? Here are three strategies:

1. Think long term.

It may be years before a company sees results. Most corporate programs are short-term inputs, which is why you often hear about how “expensive” it is to move a high-performing candidate overseas.

If companies were to consider how that candidate could get critical market-experience and skills for a CFO position someday, somewhere, it would present an entirely different return on investment.

2. Measure the right outcomes.

Our survey shows that companies are still using traditional measures to grade outcomes, such as employee satisfaction, productivity, engagement, collaboration and retention.

The future of effective talent management lies elsewhere. It will derive from practical measures such as

  • Filling positions with promising candidates from within the organization
  • Developing job-specific employee skills and leadership competencies
  • Assessing and later validating these through recruitment, selection and development processes
  • Evaluating talent management’s impact against financial and nonfinancial performance objectives

3. Adopt a disciplined approach.

Unlike most other organizational functions, “talent management” remains difficult to define, and its processes and outcomes vary widely across organizations, geographies and sectors. However, high-performing organizations tend to have similar approaches to talent management.

They treat it as a disciplined process of alignment to the business strategy, integration of talent programs across the organization and measuring results to validate business strategy execution.

The high performers in our survey:

  • Invest more in talent
  • Focus on closing skills gaps
  • Have more customized training and development programs
  • Identify future leaders earlier in their careers
  • Have robust succession plans in place

High performers also focus more on “soft” leadership skills such as the ability to embody the organization’s culture and values and to lead effectively in a complex global business environment.

That’s a lot to do – but to prepare for tomorrow’s uncertain and volatile business climate, companies cannot afford to do anything less.


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