An apparel retailer faced perennial staffing problems that affected business operations. The problems arose due to a poor understanding of the workforce skills and lack of ability to analyze existing data to plan for future talent needs. In another instance, a biotech major was facing regulatory and compliance issues from its worldwide operations. Without a common competency framework, the company had resorted to having nonstandard roles, responsibilities, processes and procedures. In both the above scenarios, a series of performance and skill gaps plagued the organizations.

Every organization wants to build, maintain, and secure the supply of critical workforces. Although they understand the importance to keep people satisfied, motivated, and trained, many organizations have been guilty of applying piecemeal solutions that rarely works to meet talent challenges. A better approach lies in understanding business priorities, identifying gaps in the workforce, and then creating a talent strategy. Developing a talent strategy requires knowledge of the industry and of the organization’s goals, metrics, differentiators, and infrastructure. Today, organizations use data mining, statistical analysis and predictive modeling to bring in more value in the following areas:

  • Talent strategy and design: determining the future talent strategy and talent roadmap
  • Process articulation and optimization: defining and streamlining core HR talent processes
  • Competency modeling: developing competency models for performance management plans and learning and development
  • Workforce planning and analytics: predictive modeling for skill-talent requirements
  • Talent operations, process and technology: implementing solutions to enable talent programs and processes
  • Talent programs and policies: transforming compensation and benefit programs

Talent, business, & value

It is very easy for organizations to keep repeating the often-repeated fact:  talent strategy is about putting the right people with the right skills in the right roles at the right time. What they miss out is on the understanding of workforce dynamics, which is a value driver that redefines the organizational culture and future. Of course, advances in analytics and deep data have come in handy for HR professionals. But there’s a lot more ground to cover on how organizations view talent management, workforce, and business goal.

It is imperative for organizations to make talent a pillar of business strategy to create effective business value. By aligning talent strategy to business objectives, organizations can acquire and develop the necessary talent to meet market challenges. Intrinsic to the talent strategies lays a very potent requirement: motivating and supporting critical workforce segments. If you look at organizations, you would notice that they typically have two to three workforces that generate a disproportionate share of value. These workforces are in high demand and low supply, and cannot be replaced easily. Therefore, when you are focusing on recruiting and developing this critical talent pool, you have to remember that you are in effect building the resource pools required to achieve your business strategy. It is also very critical for organizations to support talent with the right infrastructure. To make talent programs sustainable, you must focus continually on enablers such as change management, training and technology. Although some of what you need may already be in place, it is a business exigency that you have to continually upgrade systems—and maybe even your culture. As global forces continue to reshape the workplace, the workforce, and the work itself, it is even more imperative that organizations rethink their talent strategies at all stages of the employee lifecycle to improve business performance and for business continuity.