4 Ways Leaders Manage Talent More Strategically

Manage Talent More Strategically A woman in the foreground looks at many employees in the background

To manage talent more strategically, you must first define talent.  We define talent management as an organization’s ability to proactively acquire, develop, engage and retain talent that propels the business strategy forward in a way that fits their unique situation and corporate culture.

Acquiring Talent
It’s one thing to hire talent when you learn that there’s a slot to be filled. The recruiting and interviewing process begins; it takes time and resources. That’s the way most organizations reactively acquire the talent they need. It is an entirely different and more effective approach if you want to manage talent more strategically by having the right qualified talent pool at the ready to be behaviorally interviewed as soon as the need is identified.

Developing Talent
It’s one thing to design and develop learning and development programs based upon competency models and measured by participant satisfaction scores. It is an entirely different and more impactful approach to design and deliver action-learning solutions directly linked to relevant strategic business initiatives and measured on their ability to change behavior and improve on-the-job performance.  Otherwise you are not able to manage talent more strategically.

Engaging and Retaining Talent
It’s one thing to reactively offer a promotion or a raise when an employee threatens to jump ship. It is an entirely different and more proactive approach to measure employee engagement and to implement engagement and retention programs based upon candid and consistent employee feedback in a manner that aligns with your talent management strategy and corporate culture.

If you want your talent to matter, implement a proactive and forward-looking talent management strategy that:

1.  Creates Strategic and Cultural Alignment
When employees understand where the company is headed and the path required to get there, they can better understand and commit to how they contribute directly to overall success. The more each and every job role fits with what the business needs, the higher the level of strategic alignment.

From an organizational culture perspective, we believe that strategy and people must go “through culture” to get work done. So the more purposefully your culture (the way work gets done) aligns with your business strategy, the easier it will be for you to hire, develop, engage and retain the talent required to thrive in your unique environment.

Alignment enables employees to feel greater allegiance to their team and perform at a higher level because they are more fully engaged. And as team goals are shared across the company, managers are encouraged to find better ways to support each other…all in the name of working more efficiently and effectively toward common goals based upon agreed to beliefs, norms and assumptions.

2.  Is Proactive
Make sure the right capabilities and competencies are in place for your future needs. Try to plan ahead for any changes in in your work or marketplace. Have a robust succession plan…not just for leadership roles but also for your essential internal talent capabilities. Develop the internal talent you will need for the future so they are ready to take on additional roles and responsibilities as the company grows and changes.

3.  Encourages Transparent Knowledge Sharing and Free Information Flow
Our recent organizational alignment research found that transparent and timely information flow demonstrated the fourth strongest influence between high and low performing companies. Significant breakdowns can occur when one department does not know what another is doing. A lack of transparency can create redundancy or, worse, set up conflicting performance measures, objectives and reward systems. Instead, promote collaboration between functions.

The knowledge of where to turn combined with the unencumbered ability to find what you need, when you need it, is a potent ingredient to an agile and high performance work force.

4.  Exposes and Rewards Performance Fairly and Accurately
Different talent contributes differently. Because of this, winning organizations measure employee performance regularly so they can compensate according to actual on-the-job results and behaviors. Employees are thus encouraged to stretch to reach their potential in a way that aligns with corporate values.

Engaged, motivated employees are employees who stay…they are not retention risks because they are continuously challenged to develop their talents and grow with the company.

The Bottom Line
Talent accounts for 29% of the difference between high and low performing companies in terms of revenue growth, profitability, customer retention, and employee engagement.  Are you doing what it takes to attract, develop, engage, and retain the talent you need to thrive?

To learn more about how to manage talent more strategically, download Why Talent is 1/3rd of the Talent Management Recipe for Success

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