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Linking Talent Strategy with Business Strategy

Source | LinkedIn : By Brian Heger

If you ask an organizational leader to articulate his/her company’s talent strategy, the answers probably will sound more like a list of talent processes, programs, and practices versus a talent strategy.

While these elements enable a talent strategy, by themselves, they are not a talent strategy.

A talent strategy is a road map for how an organization plans to achieve 3-5 talent-based outcomes (usually over a three-year period) deemed critical to executing the company’s business strategy. Although the specific outcomes of a talent strategy vary, they often stem from the broader talent outcome of ensuring the organization has the right people, with the right skills, when and where it needs them.

A firm’s talent strategy not only includes the talent outcomes to be achieved, but also the tactics for achieving them, key stakeholders, time-frame for execution, and the measures for evaluating impact. The goal of the talent strategy is to close critical talent gaps and leverage talent, so the greatest impact on business strategy and results can be achieved.

How Does a Talent Strategy Get Created?  

Developing an effective talent strategy need not be a grueling endeavor. However, it requires a thought process that enables one to make the link between talent and business strategy.

The following are four steps in which Human Resources (HR) practitioners can better help their organizations develop and execute a talent strategy that drives business strategy.

1. Develop a clear understanding of the business strategy. While the business strategy may seem like an obvious starting point for developing a talent strategy, HR practitioners charged with helping their organization craft a talent strategy can struggle with this step.

HR practitioners with good intentions, sometimes default to creating talent processes, programs, or adopting external best practices for their organization, rather than first understand the unique priorities and strategy of their organization.

When one goes down this path, it typically leads to misguided talent activities that waste organizational resources, time, and energy and, ultimately, leads to missed opportunities to drive the business strategy through talent strategy.

To grasp an organization’s business strategy, HR practitioners should answer:

  • What are the strategic objectives and aspirations of the organization?
  • Where is the organization placing its strategic bets for future success?
  • How will the organization differentiate itself from competitors?
  • How will the organization add unique value to customers?

By understanding the answers to these types of questions, HR practitioners take a first step to link their organization’s talent and business strategies.

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