How to Cement Your Business Strategy and Workforce Strategies

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Companies spend significant time and resources to develop detailed business strategies and map out their corporate focus for the next five to 10 years. Yet, management often overlooks one critical component: securing the necessary talent to put these strategies into action. The more complex the strategies, the more critical it is to effectively leverage the talent ecosystem.

Effective talent cultivation is a multifaceted process. Companies first need to ensure that they’re optimizing existing talent. They also need to understand the talent supply options that are available in order to fill any gaps necessary to properly support their strategy. They then need to ensure that they have the ability to successfully reach under-tapped and untapped talent pools.

Companies’ human resource teams are best equipped to address all of these issues. They can share crucial insights that can align talent needs with future projections. Therefore, the most efficient approach is to involve HR in the decision-making and strategy-design process. By aligning their business strategies and workforce strategies, companies can find the talent necessary to execute their strategy over the long-term.

How to Build an Aligned Strategy

The strategic-planning process should require an analysis to identify the workforce needs within the organization. Among the questions that should be answered in this process are:

  • What will our company look like five to 10 years from today?
  • How do we structure our work?
  • Should we break down our tasks to accommodate a more virtual workforce?
  • Where is the majority of our talent located today?
  • What countries are investing in the talent we need?
  • Should we tap into a global talent pool?
  • Should we develop a training program internally to align skills with our economic objectives?

Talent strategy aligned with business strategy is a process beginning with a confirmation by leadership of the strategy itself. A successful, collaborative and integrated business and workforce strategy can be developed, implemented, measured and monitored using the following steps:

  • The alignment process is initiated and developed by analyzing workforce future needs and capabilities to the business plan.
  • The results of this analysis are codified into a defined workforce strategy.
  • Leadership action plans are developed for all managers who have responsibility for output in each work stream.
  • HR and senior leadership teams collaborate on the execution of the talent strategy, which should assess current talent pools, future talent needs and the timing and sequence of the strategy.
  • The plan should then be reviewed and analyzed to assess and plan for any skill gaps created by turnover, retirement or just the basic new and emerging skills that will be required to deliver on the business plan.

Once implemented, an aligned strategy needs to be measured and refined on an ongoing basis. By committing to an aligned business and workforce strategy, companies can exceed the competition and drive the results that they will need for the future.

Anne Edmunds is the regional vice president at ManpowerGroup for Chicago and Minneapolis.

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