5 Field-Tested Talent Management Factors that Matter Most

Talent Management Matters
Our organizational alignment research found that talent accounts for 29% of the difference between high and low performing companies.  But engaging and retaining top talent takes a focused effort. If you consider your employees to be part of your competitive edge, it is worth understanding the talent management factors that matter most in terms of attracting, developing, engaging and retaining the best employees for your unique strategy and workplace culture.

Five Field-Tested Talent Management Factors that Matter Most
Our talent management consulting work over the last two decades has demonstrated over and over again that there are five factors that matter most:

1. Inspire Support and Commitment for Your Vision, Mission and Values
A key component of any talent management strategy should be to include your high potentials and high performers in the creating and cascading of your overall strategic drivers of success – the corporate vision, mission and values.

  • Vision: We define corporate vision as “what the company hopes to become and the business the company will be in tomorrow.” An effective strategic vision gives shape and direction to the company’s future and helps people set and pursue aligned goals. You will know your vision is on the right track when your top talent believes that your vision for success is future-oriented, inspiring, challenging, motivating, memorable, purpose-driven and unique to your situation.
  • Mission: We define corporate mission as “the organization’s business and fundamental purpose.” An effective corporate mission statement grounds the entire workforce around what the organization is really there to do in terms of markets, offerings, distinctive core competencies, benefits and results. You will know your mission is on the right track when your top talent believes that your purpose is meaningful, believable, achievable and relevant.
  • Values: We define corporate values as “the fundamental beliefs of the organization that drive behaviors and decisions.” Effective company values set the stage for how you expect people to behave along the journey. You will know your values are on the right track when your top talent believes that they are understood, modeled by leadership, lived by high performers, part of your performance management process, and used as a filter to make key decisions – especially when times are tough.

2. Get On The Same Page About Strategic Priorities and Success Metrics
While it is essential to capture hearts and minds with your vision, mission and values, the rubber meets the road when your top talent is fully on-board with your strategic priorities and how success will be measured at the company, team and individual levels. You will know you are on the right path when your key employees:

  • Understand the company’s plans for future success
  • Believe your organization will be successful in the future
  • Understand how their job helps the organization achieve success
  • Know how they fit into the organization’s future plans
  • Can articulate how success and failure will be measured

And, as with any organizational change, the more you actively involve people in the upfront discussion and design of the strategic priorities and associated success metrics, the better chances you have of meeting your targets.  If you meet resistance, remember that it is often substandard performers who dislike clear performance measures. Under-performers enjoy ambiguity because it allows them to hide.  High performers, however, want to know where they stand and expect to get rewarded accordingly.

3.  Make Sure Your Corporate Culture Is Aligned with Your Talent and Business Strategies
Your strategies must go through your people and your culture to be fully implemented.  If your corporate culture is at odds with your strategic priorities for business or for your people, it will be difficult to get things done.  Make sure that they way work gets done is aligned with what you are trying to achieve across the organization.  If there are gaps with how customers should be treated, how decisions should be made, or how results should be accomplished, identify and address them.

Does your culture help or hinder your plans for success?

4.  Provide Coaching and Support
High achievers like to be challenged – especially when they have the support system to succeed.  When expectations for success are clearly articulated, proportionately rewarded, and consistently transparent, you have set the stage for higher performance. Combined with skilled coaching and the right resources, employees will learn how to perform at their peak in a way that makes sense for your unique culture.

The sink or swim approach is not sustainable for most people.  Do your employees have the support that they need to lift their performance to the next level?

5.  Manage High and Low Performance
Desired results and behaviors should be recognized and rewarded in a way that is meaningful to each individual employee.  By the same token, poor performance cannot be ignored. Nothing discourages a high performer faster than when there are no consequences for lack of effort or substandard performance.

Is there enough accountability in your culture to engage and retain top talent?

The Bottom Line
Appreciate and value your top talent by making it clear that they are an integral part of the company’s future.  Create a compelling path for their contribution, and create a culture of accountability that fairly rewards performance.

To learn more about the talent management factors that matter most, download Why Talent Is Surprisingly Only 1/3rd of the Recipe for Talent Management Success

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