When Talent Development Feels Like Spaghetti Against the Wall

© 2014 Lisa Prior

Change is messy, and today’s economy is forcing many organizations to rethink their business strategies and markets. Budgets are getting tighter. Competition is growing. Emotions are running higher. Some days it feels like spaghetti against the wall.

Now is the time for Human Resources professionals to bring clarity and connection between talent development strategies and the bottom line. How can you see opportunity in the chaos? How can you conceptualize an approach? How can you communicate in simple, plain language that engages leaders from the C-suite to the line?

How do you pull it all together so it doesn’t feel like spaghetti against the wall?

Talent Development: The problem

You’re struggling to improve the ways in which you communicate with and engage line managers in talent development – and you’re not alone.

Recent data confirms that HR professionals are struggling to communicate the connection between HR activities and the things that business leaders pay attention to: business drivers, goals, and performance.

Talent Development: The solution

Being a strategic partner means that you must be proficient in conceptualizing and communicating strategies that advance business drivers and goals. At a high-level, four concepts will help you put this into practice.

Concept #1: Know the key business drivers that your company’s talent development strategy needs to advance.

Business drivers are the key areas of focus that drive company performance: they represent the company’s perspective on what should be measured and managed. Examples of business drivers include:

  • Company culture
  • Ability to innovate
  • Customer service
  • Quality
  • Ability to harness technology
  • Brand and reputation.

Each company and its management team has its own unique drivers. To communicate the connection between them and your talent development strategy, begin to answer the following questions:

  • What are your firm’s business drivers?
  • What’s needed, from a human capital perspective, to advance these drivers?
  • Which metrics and measurements matter? How will they be tracked?

Concept #2: Identify key roles and competencies.

Key roles include responsibilities. Competencies are the skills, knowledge and behaviors causally related to business success. Questions you can ask include:

  • What strategically important roles are needed to advance business drivers?
  • What skills, knowledge and behaviors are causally related to success in these roles?
  • How will we encourage employee development and learning to maximize the potential of these roles?

Concept #3: Create a talent development concept.

Start with the big picture in mind.

  • How does talent development connect with other HR processes, such as performance management?
  • What’s the best way to represent this connection?

Concept #4: Create visual tools.

Let’s face it: a lot gets thrown at line managers. Responsible for executing, line managers also have to think strategically about talent development. To help them, ask:

  • What tools can I use to help them see the relevance and connection to our key drivers and outcomes?  

Subscribe to our newsletter to receive regular leadership tips and get instant access to your free copy of The 4 Skills You Need Today to Create the Career You Love.

We take your privacy seriously. No spam. See our Privacy Policy.