Getting Your Talent Strategy in Order


As the economic recovery gets underway, organizations are taking stock of their talent. In many companies, employee morale and engagement are low, given the restructuring, layoffs, and salary freezes of the last two years.

Now that the economy is starting to improve, disengaged employees will begin to look elsewhere. I just read a report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics that said that in February, the number of employees voluntarily quitting their jobs surpassed the number of employees getting fired or laid off for the first time since October 2008. This should be a good wake-up call to companies to get their talent strategies in order.

Our research shows that companies have made progress with their talent strategies over the past two years. And it's about time, because without a talent strategy, linked to business goals and objectives, companies will find it difficult to solve their talent challenges and to attract, develop, motivate, and retain talent.

What does a talent strategy look like? There are a number of different components – I'll briefly go through the key ones (for more details, see our research report "The Talent Management Framework.") One is the talent planning process, which is used to identify talent challenges and solutions. This process, which is typically conducted annually, should start with the company's business objectives and key initiatives, then outline the talent challenges and implications, and then define the key talent initatives and goals.

A second key element is the integration strategy, which is how the organization will integrate its talent processes. The organization needs to understand the inputs and outputs of each process and how these will be shared across processes. We recommend creating a 3-year roadmap for integrating talent processes.

A third element is the change management strategy, which is the plan for transitioning from the current state to a desired, future talent approach. This is the strategy for helping the organization evolve to its future state, and how to get people on board and adopting the processes and systems that are put in place.

A final key component is defining the talent measurement approach – this is how the organization will evaluate whether it's meeting its talent goals and whether it's talent strategy is successful. This includes identifying what metrics are important and how to gather those metrics and communicate them on a regular basis.

We'll be publishing examples of integration roadmaps, talent planning processes, and sample metrics and scorecards in our upcoming report, "Talent Management Factbook 2010", to be published in a few weeks. So stay tuned.

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