How to simplify talent strategy for your CEO

Working with your CEO to better attract, develop and retain staff requires a real change of view, says one business leader

How to simplify talent strategy for your CEO
“Where it’s easy to recognise that talent strategy is important, it’s difficult to address it. There’s no silver bullet that fixes all challenges in the talent space – which span from managing high turnover all the way to grooming future leaders.”
Martijn Schouten, director of PwC South East Asia Consulting (SEAC), told HRD about how HR can manage this complexity and understand the interaction between what businesses need from people and vice versa.
They key to simplifying this process is to compartmentalise the concept of the talent strategy.
“From a business side, break down your strategy in line with your HR domains: attracting, developing, retaining, etc. and understand what the issues are,” he said.
“From a people side, break down your strategy in line with the demographics: graduate recruits, first-year managers, middle managers, etc.”
By using these different lenses, it is easier to understand ‘people’ activities and understand what drives the value you are seeking, Schouten said.
While HR is already performing a lot of these functions, true leaders have learnt to connect the dots – effectively transforming the function to partner with the business, he said. Analytics play a key role in this transformation.
“It’s what we can do more with a better understanding. If you have high attrition amongst graduate recruits in a certain function, try to do insight gathering on why that is the case. Does it have to do with the circumstances of a particular function? Does it have to do with the leader in that function? Are we simply recruiting the wrong people?”
It is up to HR to connect these dots and make strategies around those insights instead of just reacting as issues arise, he said.
In addition to analytics, HR should also become a custodian or guardian of culture and values, Schouten added.
“HR wants to have a certain level of alignment between their own values – what they stand for – and what the organisation stands for.”
Finally, HR needs to observe more and listen in order to coach leaders and facilitate dialogues within the organisation.
To build up these different skillsets, Schouten suggested bringing skills into the HR function from outside either internally or externally within the organisation.
“What we see is that sometimes HR functions are recruiting people from a financial reporting background – people that have a different, more mathematical skillset who are able to read data and numbers.”
“The same goes for that second point around guardians of culture – find the more organisational development type professional, bring them into your HR organisation and let them drive that.”
Related stories:
A compass for talent recruitment
Fishing for candidates in a global talent pool
Why career pathways won’t help build talent

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