The Surprising Talent Management Recipe for Success

An upward leading arrow is Talent Management Recipe

Do You Know the Talent Management Recipe for Success?
Most people leaders admit that the talent management recipe for success is elusive – especially for high growth organizations.  we believe that the goal of talent management is to create and sustain organizational excellence through people — by attracting, developing, engaging and retaining the top talent that makes sense for your business strategy and unique organizational culture.

Done right, effective talent management can differentiate your company from the competition in both good and bad times.  Done poorly, inconsistent and unaligned talent management methodologies can grind your company to a halt.

If you are looking for a sustainable and profitable talent management recipe for success to help grow your business, there are three critical factors that need to be in place – Strategy, Culture and Talent – and all three need to be inextricably connected and aligned.

Your Strategy Must Be Clear Enough
Our organizational alignment research found that strategic clarity accounts for 31% of the difference between high and low performing companies.  Successful leaders know that strategies must be clear enough for people to commit to them.  Likewise, talent management plans cannot succeed unless they are purposefully linked to the strategic priorities of the business.

Fundamentally, strategy is about making hard choices and focusing – almost ruthlessly – only on the areas with the greatest leverage. If your strategy is inconsistent, unclear, or not being successfully implemented across the company, you have some strategy design and cascade work to do before you can focus on an effective talent management plan for success.

Your Culture Must Be Aligned with Your Strategy
Once your strategy is clear enough to act, you must ensure that your culture is aligned with your strategy.  We define workplace culture as how work gets done on a day-to-day basis.  Your culture can either help or hinder your ability to execute your strategy.

Cultural alignment accounts for 40% of the difference between high and low performing companies in terms of revenue growth, profitability, customer loyalty, and employee engagement.  Your culture provides the glue necessary for any talent strategies to stick.  It is a mistake to invest in big talent management initiatives before your culture is aligned with your strategy.

Your Talent Makes It All Work
While we believe that the purpose of creating a differentiated talent management strategy is to drive organizational excellence, we were surprised to learn that Talent only accounted for 29% of the difference between high and low performing organizations.  While it makes sense that even the best people can get derailed by unclear strategies and misaligned cultures, we thought that talent would have a bigger impact.

While it is still true that organizations can ill afford to hire wrong or to lose current players that matter, we now know that your strategy must be clear enough and your culture must be aligned enough for those talent management strategies to pay off.  Once your strategy and culture are aligned, building a high performing workforce has four main building blocks:

  1. Attracting Top Talent
    Have a clearly defined employee brand that aligns with your overall company brand promise. A clear, compelling, and differentiated employee value proposition can help your company stand out in a crowded market while attracting the necessary talent that fits.

    Then define the profile of a successful candidate and the organizational culture in which they need to succeed.  Selecting new employees is one of the most critical decisions an organization can make.  Invest the time required to get the job profile right, conduct thorough behavior-based interviews, hire smart, and increase speed to productivity and engagement with a quality on-boarding program.

  2. Developing Top Talent
    Effective leaders ensure that each and every learning and development initiative can demonstrate a measurable contribution to the business. To develop top talent, you must change both on-the-job behavior and performance. To change behavior and performance, you must treat learning as a change initiative, not a training event.

    Our research of over 800 training measurement projects has shown that only 1-in-5 people change their behavior from training alone.  Start by identifying the specific business metrics that you want to improve with your key business stakeholders.  We call this the Metrics-to-Move™.

    Make sure that you identify key business and learning objectives, agree to leading and lagging success metrics,  calculate desired targets for each metric,  complete a high-level business case that aligns with company priorities, and draft a high-level project, communication, measurement and change management plan.

    In other words, treat training like any other business initiative, not an employee benefit.

  3. Engaging Top Talent
    Based on employee data from over 5,000 employee engagement surveys annually, we know that engaged employees are more productive, more profitable, more customer-focused, and more likely to stay.  Start with understanding your current engagement levels. Employee engagement surveys can reveal much more than an organization’s shortcomings.They can paint an accurate picture of your employee brand, your true culture, and your value to prospective hires.
  4. Retaining Top Talent
    More than 50% of highly engaged organizations report lower attrition rates. It has been well documented that unwanted employee turnover negatively affects customers, employees, productivity, and profitability. If your company’s turnover is too high, it’s time to understand why.

    Use a combination of  Employee Exit surveys to get a complete turnover picture, Employee Engagement surveys to discover where you stand, and Targeted Action Plans to retain top talent.

The Bottom Line
If you want your talent management strategy to create organizational excellence, start with the business strategy and the organizational culture.  Then you can confidently create an aligned plan to meaningfully attract, develop, engage and retain top talent.  That is the Talent Management Recipe for Success.

To learn more about how to get the most out of your talent, download The 3 Areas that You Must Get Right for Your Talent to Perform at their Peak

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