How to Build a Bullet-Proof Talent Strategy

January 15, 2014 Darcy Jacobsen

HR is in a period of dramatic change. Anyone who has been part of HR for twenty, or ten, or even just a couple of years is probably nodding along with this. Many people credit this to the critical influence of technology on how we do our jobs—and I totally agree that technology has been transformative to our industry.

But I think it goes deeper than that. I think that an even more significant reason for change is the gradual realization of the pivotal role that human capital management plays in overall organizational success.

Of course, the importance of people and human resources in success is nothing new… but that’s where technology comes in. Technology has provided us with a vehicle to show that incredible impact in a quantifiable way. And that visibility has made all the difference.

Yet some HR organizations still struggle in showing their impact. They struggle in making leadership understand how important it is to drive engagement and to allocate resources to human capital initiatives. Some leaders understand this intuitively—others, not so much.

Part of this is that HR tends to be program driven—and when you think in terms of discrete programs it is far too easy to divide and conquer.

Of course, HR professionals usually understand how closely  strategies are intertwined, and how they feed one another’s success. The challenge has traditionally been in how to help others in the business understand it.

To that end, here are three pieces of advice in how to create a bullet-proof talent strategy that will make your execs sit up and take notice of what you’re doing, and hopefully help you win buy-in and support for the goals you’ve established.

1.       Build Proactive Strategies Based on Business Goals

Okay, this is sort of a gimme. But I have to say it! Too often we get into fire drill mode in our desire to be reactive to the needs of the organization. Of course, this makes sense for a support organization, and we’re all acutely aware of how desperately we are needed to keep things on the rails. But it is important for us to also step back to set goals, and also be proactive and strategic in how we think about things like engagement, retention and recognition. Take the time to understand the business’ goals, and to build an executable HR strategy to support those goals.

2.       Integrate your Strategies into One Master Strategy

It isn’t enough to just have a strategy for each of your goals. You need to show your company, in a visual and easily accessible way, how those various HR strategies work together and support one another. Because they do. If you aren’t showing how each and every thing you do fits into the larger picture, you’re missing a very real opportunity to show your organization the power of what you do in a holistic way.  (I’ll reveal our framework in tomorrow’s post.) Make sure you interconnect the dots for yourselves and for your leaders. You’ll be surprised how it may change thinking. Even your own!

3.       Increase Visibility by Measuring and Reporting

Of course, you can have the best and most integrated, proactive strategy going—but if you aren’t measuring and reporting on your results, you aren’t managing them, and no one in leadership is going to pay the proper attention to what you’re doing. Make sure you’re building a great dashboard, based on real time data, to show the direct impact your strategy is having on the business. Metrics are the language of leadership, and if you have good ones, people will sit up and take notice.

Stay tuned tomorrow for a peek at our own integrated talent framework, and see (what I think is) the incredible  impact you can make when you show how your programs work in concert, and make one another stronger!

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