Half way through the year: How successful is your talent management plan?

I will be the first to tell you there has never been a better time to be in human resources.  Never has there been better and more widely available research, predictive models, and–during this economic expansion–the need for companies to have talent management and organization capability strategies to attract, motivate and retain the best talent.

The companies that will win the 2015 “war for talent” will be those with inspiring brands, meaningful work with purpose, transparency, principles, employee development, flexible work opportunities, great rewards, and cultures that are performance based.

Many authors (such as management consultant Ram Charan, Google executives Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg, and human resources academic researchers John W. Boudreau, David Ulrich and Peter Cappelli) have written eloquently of the CEO’s need for a Chief Human Resources Officer (CHR0) to serve as a trusted talent management and organization capability partner, much like the dependable partnership with the CFO.  The CHRO must have the following skills to be a great strategic partner: business knowledge and savvy, strategic thinking, analysis skills, agility, digital acumen, action-orientation–and the human resources competency to build such plans and execute them flawlessly.

So half way through the year, how is your plan doing?

Strong talent and organizational capability plans are tied closely to the organization’s business strategies as well as its annual financial, sales and marketing, SIOP (sales, inventory, operations planning) and R&D goals. The best talent and organizational capability plans include predictive measures that provide CHROs a head’s up when the plan is in danger of not meeting its goals so that the organization can make adjustments. The best CHROs will have recommendations for their executive teams, much like CFOs, on which interventions are needed to get back on course. They will also be able to provide reliable predictions of the outcomes of the interventions.

Just as the different elements of an organization’s balance and income statements are integrated, talent and organizational capability plans are integrated as well. For example, an organization will fail at an aggressive hiring plan to support a key product development or product or service launch if its compensation structure is behind the market, its work environment is viewed as too stodgy for millennial engineers, its flexible work place options are poor, or its Glassdoor rating is only two stars (which is a poor reflection on leadership style)!

Don’t have a plan?

Now would be a good time to start a talent and organizational capability plan for next year! There is no cookie cutter approach. Instead, your plan needs to be tailored to fit the mission, principles, business model and strategies of your organization and its respective industry. Whether your business is a start-up experiencing rapid growth, a mid-cap company needing to upgrade its talent management approach, or a large company retooling and restructuring, a strong talent and organizational capability plan is necessary for good business outcomes and profitable growth.

The first step in developing your plan is to review your organization’s strategic business plan. Consider market opportunities and threats, emerging technologies, new product plans, financial goals and target areas for growth. Useful inputs include: customer feedback, observations by executives, and employee sensing sessions and surveys. Ask yourself: Do your executives look with envy at the employee competencies of market rivals?  Are new workforce competencies or organizational capabilities required to meet your business strategies? Then, use a return on investment model to develop strategies that demonstrate how the plan will enable successful business execution, great business outcomes and profitable growth.

What successes have you had with your talent management and organizational capability plan? What are you struggling with? I would love to hear from you.

Victor Assad is a strategic human resources consultant and executive coach who works with key decision makers and human resources leaders on talent management, accelerating change, leadership development, and other strategic initiatives, such as mergers and acquisitions, strategy implementation, and flexible workplace.

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