With the shortage of available qualified job seekers to meet demand, companies are scrambling to find and hire the right talent before it’s snatched up by the competition. Executive leaders globally list the ability to attract and retain talent as one of their top risks for this year and across the next decade. But it’s not enough to merely assess and recruit talent to fill open positions. Companies now, more than ever, must look at talent within the organization and assess and maximize the value of that talent while improving retention and ensuring that institutional knowledge and skills are preserved across the organization. This is critical to ensure necessary resources are in place to meet strategic goals now and, just as important, to fulfill the organization’s longer-term business strategy.
Integrating talent strategy and business strategy is key
Talent optimization is first and foremost about aligning and integrating the organization’s talent strategy with its business strategy. Beyond the traditional means of assessing talent, executive leaders must have a clear understanding of their organization’s enterprise and growth strategies, plans for contraction, increased focus on efficiency, or plans for technology innovation and transformation, whether for a specific area of the organization or across the enterprise. They then must determine whether the current talent has the required skills and experiences to help the organization achieve its growth strategies and strategic priorities.
Changing the traditional talent pipeline
As organizations prepare for 2023, uncertain economic conditions, talent shortages, internal projects and required innovation, the traditional recruiting pipeline may not be the best fit for bringing in the talent and skills the organization needs. Historically, organizations have relied mostly on full-time resources; however, organizations should consider leveraging contingent labor. Recruiting and sourcing approaches need updating to better attract resources with the highly sought-after skills and experiences required in today’s environment. In many ways, you should look at your incoming talent as you do potential customers; talent is low in supply and high in demand. Much like your customer value proposition, what makes your organization unique to acquire talent?
Maximizing your current talent
Many organizations struggle with having a good understanding of the current skills and experiences within their virtual walls. For key roles, the recruiting pipeline should include strategies to look within the organization for team members who have the skills, experiences and capacity to stretch into different roles. Staffing alternatives should include managed services providers or staff augmentation strategies.
Reskilling and upskilling
With the rapid advancement of technology, organizations must consider reskilling or upskilling team members to gain skills and experience needed to meet strategic goals. Leaders must start thinking beyond whether a team member or candidate has the skill set today to do a job; they need to have their eye on the future and assess whether candidates or team members have the capacity to learn the new skillsets of the future. A large majority of business executives believe artificial intelligence will drive radical transformation of their organizations over the next decade, and are planning to invest in upskilling their workforce. Leaders need to consider retention programs while investing in their employees. If leaders do not think retention in parallel with upskilling, they run the significant risk of investing in team members just to see them take these new skills to a different organization.
Talent management transformation
Organizations seeking to transform their talent management function can explore the following actions as part of their transformation strategy:
- Conduct talent inventories regularly and evaluate them with an eye for the organization’s longer-term business objectives. Ensure that the right talent is in place to allow the organization to meet its goals and develop strategies to address any gaps that are uncovered during the exercise.
- Develop updated talent metrics to identify skills at risk and opportunities for upskilling and reskilling existing employees.
- Embrace new models for acquiring talent and skills, including a flexible labor model that includes full-time employees, contractors, expert external consultants, and managed business services and outsourcing providers.
- Evaluate and institute ways to integrate ESG, DEI and other well-being metrics into the organization’s culture to improve the employee experience, garner loyalty and improve retention.
As business leaders and boards of directors look to the future with transformation and innovation in view, they must examine their organization’s talent strategy and ensure it aligns with their strategic business objectives. A reactive talent strategy that focuses primarily on filling open positions can no longer suffice. Partnering with their chief human resource officer (CHRO) and elevating the CHRO’s place at the executive table can help ensure that this alignment is established and sustained for the organization’s success.