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The Learning Spotlight

Why a Talent Strategy?

 By John Grubbs

If your company lacks a documented, active talent strategy, you will spend significantly to attract new employees to replace your empty chairs soon!   Without a viable strategy to keep the best and brightest, your top performers will be easily taken by other companies when the jobs return.  We are building pressure for the pending demand that will soon be a reality!

Following are the five major components of an effective talent strategy:

1)  Identify and clarify your true values.  Hanging posters on a wall is not enough!  Proactive companies develop a formal communication strategy to perpetually communicate values to all employees.  The discipline to create a redundant message is necessary to drive decisions on the front line.

2)  Constantly improve your team's capability to be successful.  Training to practice excellence is critical.  Investing in the individual is imperative to long-term success.  Employees need training to create the “muscle memory” to perform when introduced to stress on the job.  Without training, the response is often what has been practiced most in the past.  This simple understanding explains why leaders can say one thing and do the opposite under stress.

3)  Measure performance and give constant feedback.  Abandon the prehistoric annual performance review for a monthly process that is easy and meaningful.  Amazingly, after surveying hundreds of companies and thousands of employees, not ONE is proud of the formal methodology for delivering feedback.  Some are tolerant while others absolutely loathe the annual performance review process.

4)  Funnel business improvement information to employees daily.  The more you include employees in every day challenges and success, the more they will feel like they belong on the team.  Think "internal marketing" and you are on the right track!  You have to constantly sell the company to your employees.  Employees must believe the hype in order to behave in ways that support business objectives.

5)  Align people with positions based on talent.  You must determine individual talent formally.  Do not assume the employee is in the best position on the team.  A recent discussion revealed a senior level executive in the wrong role in the organization.  Using a formal methodology (tool) to evaluate talent can be very meaningful for your team. Additionally, the role they “want” may not be the “best” role for the organization.  Employees get comfortable in roles that may only allow mediocrity.  The fear of change is greater than the fear of failure.

An effective talent strategy cannot be informal or yet another latent issue hidden within the many roles of the human resource function.  Key executive engagement is absolutely critical for the process to be successful.  The “World-Class” organization views talent as the linchpin for overall performance.  Unfortunately, most companies do not see the competitive advantage potential and will be reactive as the employment market evolves over the next few months.

Please share your comments and thoughts: john@gci4training.com