In a time of rapid organizational transformation, does HR have the right seat at the table?

This post is the first in a series. Each post will explore the alignment of your talent functions to the achievement of your strategic business plan. 

Currently, across the world, experienced senior executives are convening to establish their strategic visions for the year 2024 and the years ahead. They’ll look at the current results, analyze marketplace trends, and define their competitive niche. Future-focused evolution fueled by technology, AI, and analytics will invariably force each of these organizations to address the topic of talent. Numerous new skills and competencies are essential as we progress into the future.

This accelerated and increasingly complex need for evolution is taxing all talent leaders. For every business leader, it’s an important time to evaluate whether you have your human resources partners engaged in the way that allows them to be the most effective. Let’s look at the challenges in two core phases of the talent-building process.

Strategic Planning

By its very definition, strategic planning is intended to look at the future and the marketplace in which your organization is positioned. There are talent-related considerations that should be included in the assessment of your overall business case. In fact, given the ongoing war on talent in some functions, these considerations could potentially alter your business case altogether.

Your human capital leader(s) will contribute a valuable perspective on risk, possibility, and obstacles. On the flip side, you also want those leading your talent supply chain to have proactive insights into your future needs. The more you allow your human resource partners to prepare for talent needs, the less delay you will have in executing your business plans.

Your strategic plan should include a more detailed evaluation of options for sourcing any of the necessary talent internally or building the competencies you need. If not, you must source the talent externally via temporary or permanent hires. The timing required for each option, the costs associated, and the broader preparation they require could all have significant impacts on your ability to achieve forecasted business outcomes. The bottom line is that your shareholders and Board of Directors will be upset if your objectives aren’t achieved. In this current climate, talent could very well be the factor that causes you to fall short.

Having your Human Capital partners engaged and providing inputs on the front end is the best way to ensure that you create holistic and realistic result forecasts.

Questions to Consider

Do we have the appropriate intel about talent market conditions related to our future direction? Are we engaging our human resource partners in the assessment of our strategic business proposition, or are we just expecting that they will respond to it?

Talent Acquisition  

If your organization needs to source talent externally, whether vendors or full-time employees, you need to step back and evaluate whether you are positioned to attract the highest caliber talent. The more far-reaching or cutting-edge your business plan is, the more challenging it will be to source the right resources expeditiously. Let’s look at the challenges from the perspective of a prospective candidate.

It’s possible that your brand image as an employer will prohibit people from even responding to your recruiters’ outreach. In a recent research project, a Talent Acquisition leader chuckled when asked how they attract candidates over competitors. “Ha. I never have to worry about the young up-and-comers choosing them over us. None of them want to work for the old grandpas.” Can you be sure that your organization appeals to the candidates you wish to attract?

When individuals first become aware of your organization as a prospective employer or client, they need to associate your identity with the attributes they would apply to their career. If your ideal candidate is thinking “cutting-edge” and your brand identity is “old grandpa” you have an obstacle to overcome. Building your employer brand proposition takes intense effort, investment, and time. Changing this aspect of your image publicly is no less challenging than changing your brand image for your products.

If you embark on changing your employer brand publicly, it is imperative that every step in the Candidate Experience is aligned with that brand. The level of attention that you give to your customer experience should be matched by the focus you put on the candidate experience.

Questions to Consider

What is the perception of our organization as an employer? Do we have intel about brand perception from the strategic talent profiles we seek? What channels do we have in place to impact our employer identity?

Changing your organization’s strategic direction is absolutely essential for survival in today’s world. Your human capital underpins your evolution regardless of your functional space. This article evaluates just two of the many factors in a complex undertaking.

About the Author

Carla DiGiovanni is a seasoned change management and learning leader. She thrives on helping clients to realistically evaluate whether their talent programs are aligned to the achievement of their business plans. 

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