Integrating Talent Management that Aligns with Strategic Business Goals

The key to the success of any organization lies in ensuring that HR managers have a seat at the leadership table. These emergent HR leaders are providing strategic guidance on hiring and workforce development with an eye toward growing their organizations and improving their competitive edge.

There was a time, not long ago, when “HR” meant simply “human resources”—benefits, payroll, compliance, hiring, and dismissal. Today, the role of HR professionals places organizational and employee development at its center. In this capacity, the workforce is seen holistically, as a group of people with the potential to grow and evolve. This shift comes in response to changes in the professional environment: a place where people will have upward of 15 different jobs over the course of their lives and where anywhere from 65 to 80 percent of the jobs of tomorrow don’t yet exist.

It is also where we are hiring people to do work today that will look very different over the coming decade. We can no longer cling to outdated notions of what a “good hire” looks like—such as the idea that a good employee comes to an organization fully formed. Instead, we must focus on attracting a workforce capable of navigating emerging business challenges and then seek the most effective methods to retain and grow this workforce for the long term. 

The key to the success of any organization lies in ensuring that HR managers have a seat at the leadership table. These emergent HR leaders are providing strategic guidance on hiring and workforce development with an eye toward growing their organizations and improving their competitive edge. To remain competitive, enterprises must be thinking more broadly than simply maintaining the status quo, and the HR professional is where these initiatives live and breathe.

The assets that were enough to retain employees even a decade ago—benefits, seniority, comfort—no longer hold the same appeal for today’s workforce. As Human Resource professionals move into strategic leadership roles, they offer a specialized mindset, one that bridges cultures and provides nimble problem-solving abilities to build a successful team, and ultimately, a successful company. This expertise includes knowing the right strategies and tactics to empower a workforce and implementing a talent management strategy that will align human capital with business goals.

Today’s employers are facing the highest talent shortage in 10 years. This lack of availability of skilled candidates is influenced by several forces: political, economic, technological and cultural. Given the flux in all of these areas, it becomes difficult, if not impossible, to predict what the workforce of the future will look like. As executives struggle to fill highly skilled jobs, they have sought HR and organizational development professionals to build and retain an engaged workforce that is energized and passionate about evolving and learning those new skills.

The mentality and agility HR leaders bring to the table is critical to an organization’s ability to remain relevant and competitive in today’s business environment. These professionals understand that the key is to take a macro, or systems, view of the field and understand the role of HR leader as critical strategic partner within the organization. In this more holistic approach, an organization begins to see employees as needing acknowledgement and validation—as contributors to the central initiatives of the enterprise.

It starts in the hiring process, where businesses seek critical thinkers and problem solvers, hiring those who evidence a capacity to go deeper and broader with their professional development. These forward-thinking HR professionals see education and training as an opportunity for organizations to grow their own expertise, and the culture becomes a learning community. Business leaders from the C-suite to middle management begin to see professional development as a gift to offer strong employees. When leaders offer high-performing workers the prospect of beginning or continuing their education, they are engaging in a highly effective retention strategy that says to an employee, “I believe in you. I see potential in you for the long term.”

When an organization invests in its employees’ professional development, it is recognizing that high-quality education and training offers students a different way of looking at the world from the first day of class, and this insight can only serve to broaden an employee’s value to that organization. In other words, hiring managers needn’t wait until an employee graduates to realize the significance of the educational investment.

In my experience consulting with private companies and government agencies, it is apparent that the success of an organization is enhanced when its employees have access to relevant knowledge and skills. To that end, many organizations have established academic alliances as a means to remain competitive, improve employee retention, and enhance recruitment efforts. Around the globe, HR professionals are seeing that there is tremendous value in identifying individuals they want to retain and invest in during their ongoing workforce development process. Degrees and certificates are one way to provide a continued professional development pathway, while ensuring the workforce is making meaningful and strategic business contributions to the organization while growing their resumes.

Dr. Mika Nash is academic dean and associate professor in the Division of Continuing Professional Studies at Champlain College. She has worked in education since 1991—as a dean, faculty, lecturer, and researcher—and has worked in online education for the last decade. Dr. Nash works directly with businesses and government agencies, helping them to identify skills gaps and improve their workforce and processes to develop smarter, more strategic organizations. She has authored pieces for the Huffington Post, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and Rutledge. Contact her at:


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