First of all, what is Talent Optimization?
I get asked this question often and usually by individuals who confuse it with the function of talent development or talent management within their organization.
My definition of Talent Optimization is simply the alignment between the business strategy and the plan for your most important organizational asset, your talent.
It involves three critical steps:
- Start with your business strategy and assess its impacts on your talent needs.
The business strategy needs to be at the core of talent optimization. The business strategy has to drive the desired organization talent outcomes. Every talent initiative your organization develops, sponsors and participates in must be steered directly from where the business wants to go. Without this alignment back to your business strategy your organization is simply wasting its time, efforts and money for initiatives that aren’t supporting what is important to your organization’s success. So many companies have invested heavily in talent focused programs and initiatives over the years which look great…..but many times when I ask them why the created the program they aren’t able to align the purpose of their high visibility programs back to the business strategy. Simply put, these companies have spent lots of money on “window dressings” and failed to focus their investments into ones that will shape their organization’s talent to where it needs to go.
- Assess your current talent to effectively understand current skills and capabilities.
Similar to analyzing the value of an organization’s asset, understanding your organization’s own talent and their capabilities is another critical factor within talent optimization. Companies need to properly gauge their own talent’s skills, abilities, and limitations to effectively understand the gaps between their current talent and the desired skills and abilities needed to successfully achieve their business strategy and goals. Very few companies are able to do this successfully. Most companies understand the skills and competencies needed within each role but fail to understand the full capabilities and experiences of the talent working within that role. Companies recruit and hire simply to fill their roles and fail to recognize the other skills, abilities and experiences of the new hire beyond the requirements the role. There are so many great tools and technologies available for organizations to gain a better understanding of their talent which is essential to building an effective organization talent strategy and plan.
- Move, develop and recruit talent successfully to meet the organizational needs and goals.
An organization’s ability to effectively move, develop and recruit talent is the third critical factor for an organization to optimize talent. Companies must be self-aware and understand their true capabilities within talent management, talent development and talent acquisition. An organization who isn’t effective in managing and developing their own talent will need to rely more on hiring new talent to fulfill the requirements of the business strategy. The organization must understand the limitations of their talent function and make the appropriate decision to either invest quickly in resolving their functional deficiencies or work around them.
Talent optimization starts at the top of the organization and shouldn’t be just another HR exercise which the executive team and the rest of the organization isn’t fully supporting. Talent optimization is an organizational function – not just an HR function.
Simon Parkin is the Practice Leader for HR, Recruitment and Talent Management Solutions at The Talent Company – www.thetalent.co Simon is recognized as a global thought leader in the acquisition and management of talent and has successfully transformed the Talent function for organizations of all sizes. Simon works closely with clients to build, develop and innovate their Recruitment, Talent and HR functions. He is a former global leader of Recruitment and Talent for a Fortune 100 company. Simon is a featured speaker at a number of HR and Recruitment conferences across North America and an author of many acclaimed articles on innovative Recruitment, Talent and HR trends and best practices. Simon’s full profile can be found at http://ca.linkedin.com/in/simonparkin1 and he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org