Opinion: Redefining talent management to improve company performance

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In the current economic environment of strong competition and reduced spending, retention of top talent is an important concern for many businesses. In fact, in Deloitte’s 2015 Global Human Capital Trends report, companies cited culture, talent retention and engagement as the things that concerned them the most.
 
Many organisations make the mistake of defining top talent simply as high performers, without taking into consideration their alignment with the company's overall strategy.
 
The best talent management strategy should look at improving retention by better aligning employees with the company’s corporate goals and objectives. When an employee’s job role is aligned with the corporate goals, they will have better buy in to the company’s success.
 
Goal alignment is a powerful method that not only clarifies job roles for individual employees, but also improves engagement and overall performance. This approach provides employees with a specific purpose and objective, and one which they know is contributing to the success of the organisation.
 
With employee engagement and retention directly impacting the bottom line, goal alignment should be key to any effective talent management strategy.
 
The state of employee engagement in New Zealand
 
The Deloitte survey shows leadership and employee engagement are the top issues facing Kiwi organisations.
 
Deloitte says workers are becoming more mobile, contingent and autonomous, and as a result, harder to manage and engage. In this new world of work, organisations need to re-imagine the way they manage people and come up with new, out-of-the-box ideas to make themselves relevant.
 
The number of respondents who cited engagement as being “very important” doubled from 26 percent last year to 50 percent this year. Sixty percent said they do not have an adequate program to measure and improve engagement, indicating a lack of preparedness for addressing this issue. Only 12 percent of HR and business leaders have a program in place to define and build a strong culture; while only 7 percent rated themselves as excellent at measuring, driving, and improving engagement and retention.
 
Gallup’s State of the Global Workforce study conducted across 142 countries found that, globally, only 13 per cent of employees are engaged. In New Zealand we fare better, with twenty-three per cent of employees saying they are engaged, sixty-two per cent not engaged and 15 per cent being actively disengaged.
 
Gallup puts the cost of this workplace disengagement in New Zealand more than $7.5 billion per year, a clear barrier to improving our global competitiveness and economic success.
 
Gallup’s research also found that only twenty per cent of the workforce has a strong connection between their work and corporate goals. This leaves up to eighty per cent of employees unknowingly working hard on outcomes that may not be in the best interests of the organisation.
 
The bottom line is there are massive gains to be made from better engaging talent through goal alignment.
 
How to align top talent and corporate goals
All managers should take action to determine how they can better align top talent with the corporate objectives. Ask yourself:
  1. How can we better engage and align our top talent?
  2. Does our top talent know what our corporate goals are?
  3. Do they know how their job contributes to meeting these goals?
  4. Do we know how we are tracking against our corporate goals during the year?
  5. Are our talent management strategies effective in contributing to these corporate goals?
 
Next, try out a few easy remedies:
  • Communicate corporate goals with your people.
  • Re-evaluate employee performance plans to ensure they accurately align to the company’s corporate goals.
  • Provide employees with visibility of their performance plans and access to update it as they progress throughout the year. This gives the organisation a clearer, more holistic view of its annual progress, as well as its workforce’s capabilities.
 
Many organisations do not follow through with employing effective talent management strategies because they can be seen as cumbersome and time consuming. But specific talent management software is available in the market to automate and streamline goal alignment, thereby freeing up the organisation to focus on its overall performance.
 
Taking action to increase corporate goal alignment and in turn, engagement of your top talent, will drive a more productive workforce, reduce turnover, and have a positive impact on the bottom line.

About the author



Paul MacRae is the General Manager for Human Resources and Payroll (HRP) at TechnologyOne. 

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