Connecting Corporate Strategy to Talent Management

HR departments have a responsibility to serve as a critical bridge between an organization’s vision and its talent.

By Michael Custers, Vice President, Alliances and Strategic Marketing, NorthgateArinso

As companies continue to evolve to meet the challenges and opportunities of a complex global marketplace, HR departments have a responsibility to serve as a critical bridge between an organization’s vision and its talent. As HR is responsible for developing talent for the organization’s needs, it is not enough for HR departments to simply be involved in the development of the corporate strategy, they also must have ownership in ensuring that all employees are developed and empowered to bring that strategy to fruition.

According to a recent global talent management survey from NorthgateArinso, HR continues to prove its value at the boardroom table as 75.6 percent of organizations included HR in the development of their corporate strategy. Communicating and instilling that corporate strategy in a workforce remains a challenge, however, as the survey found that only slightly more than half of employees (52.6 percent) actually understand the corporate strategy and its impact on their role at the organization. This disconnect is part of the reason why more than two-thirds (67.5 percent) of organizations still believe that there is a need to improve the perception of the HR department as a driver in the fulfillment of business objectives. One way HR departments can overcome this challenge is by better aligning the workforce with the corporate strategy through the use of HR technologies.

Technology as a Tool for Engagement

To fight the perception that HR is not a strategic partner in the pursuit of business goals and ensure that the workforce is prepared for success, organizations should invest in the HR technologies that allow greater visibility and insight into the employee base. By leveraging the right HR technologies, HR executives can assume an even greater role in translating the corporate strategy to the workforce while driving a culture that supports the execution of the strategy. Specifically, integrated HR technologies empower HR executives to:

  • Better inform the corporate strategy from the beginning. Now that HR has a seat at the boardroom table, it’s vital that it earn its keep. Before corporate strategy-setting sessions begin, HR executives should leverage an integrated talent management system to gain insight on the current skills and competencies possessed by the workforce. This information should be presented during the formation of the corporate strategy as it provides insight into the ability of the current workforce to achieve set goals. For example, if the strategy is to globalize, this information will inform whether there are enough employees with the necessary language and global business skills for expansion. If there is a need to acquire new talent, it immediately can be discussed as an imperative for success.
  • Create open dialogue. Often people are most engaged with a plan when they believe they have some input in it. By leveraging social media tools, such as Yammer and Socialcast, and other internal communication channels, HR executives can help ensure employees understand the strategy by encouraging them to share their thoughts. For example, in addition to releasing the strategy through traditional channels, it can be posted on the corporate social media site to allow employees to weigh in on the strategy and what resources they need to achieve the goals. Additionally, these channels can be used to give leadership a voice in communicating the importance and rationale of these objectives in a more personal way. By launching social media platforms as capabilities in support of the business strategy, HR departments can encourage higher rates of comprehension and awareness of the corporate strategy and the role of employees in bringing it to life.
  • Close talent gaps. Once the strategy is set and shared with employees, HR must further marry the skills of the workforce with the business objectives by working directly with employees to address developmental talent gaps. Through the employment of an integrated performance management technology, HR executives can identify opportunities for additional training and development. This enables HR executives to help employees align their career plan with the goals of the company, while addressing their developmental needs—further driving relevance and understanding of the corporate strategy.
  • Recognize and reward progress. To further encourage comprehension of and dedication to the corporate strategy, HR executives should be sure to highlight and celebrate those employees who have positively embraced the corporate charge. Through compensation management technologies, HR executives can more strategically reward and recognize those who are advancing the corporate strategy. By making it known that compensation is linked to the execution of the corporate strategy, employees have a greater incentive to understand and activate against it.

Developing a Culture of Engagement

HR technologies, such as performance and compensation management tools, give HR executives the insights and ability to ensure a workforce is aware and engaged with the corporate strategy. It is important to remember, however, that a company’s culture company dictates how a strategy is fulfilled. As such, it’s important that HR executives leverage HR technologies to help create the behaviors that support the business objectives. By encouraging open dialogue about the strategy, working closely with employees to craft strategic career plans, and recognizing those who show dedication to business objectives, HR can drive a corporate culture that is connected and engaged with the business and their role in its success. This not only further elevates HR’s position in an organization but, most importantly, creates an environment where talent can thrive and corporate objectives are satisfied.

Michael Custers is vice president of alliances and strategic marketing for NorthgateArinso.

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