The Imperative of a Talent Strategy
By Allison Wyatt
We all know the pain points when our talent practices aren’t working: difficulty filling positions, increased staff turnover and burnout, low staff morale, and overarching downgrading of talent over time as top performers seek employers who have their talent practices in order. There is a plethora of research outlining the financial implications of these challenges. For example, the price of one employee leaving is estimated at 150% of that employee’s annual salary, and that percentage increases to 213% for C-Suite positions.
The implications do not stop there. Who achieves an organization’s goals? People. Who implements an organization’s marketing strategy? People. Who raises money to support an organization’s programs and growth? People. So why wouldn’t everyone have the same level of rigor around their talent strategy as they do around marketing and fundraising strategies when the success of achieving an organization’s mission is so obviously dependent on the people employed there?
Here are five steps your organization can take now to build a talent strategy that is aligned with your organizational goals and priorities:
- Understand what your organization is trying to achieve. This means setting concrete and measurable organization-wide goals that the talent strategy can be designed around to support. For example, if your organization is planning on launching a new service or program, the talent team will need clear objectives to build their talent pools around and ensure they are ready to fill new openings as they come up.
- Assess your current bench. Do the people in your organization have the skills and experience required to achieve these goals or are you venturing into a new area that requires that you bring new expertise into the organization? Maybe your organization is growing in size and complexity and requires a more sophisticated management skill set. The talent team needs to be aware of changes on the horizon in order to be prepared to fill any gaps with new talent or plan for professional development that will prepare staff for the future.
- Survey your staff. It is critically important to understand staff engagement. Are people fired up and inspired to give it their all every day or is a lack of engagement and enthusiasm getting in the way of your organization’s success? We recommend surveying your staff yearly to gauge what areas your organization can improve upon and understand how effectively your organization is serving ALL employees, regardless of their personal identities Edgility’s Talent Equity Assessment is a great way to measure your organization’s equity and find your gaps.
- Start leveraging data. Data-driven decision-making is the anchor for any effective talent strategy. Without it, your organization will be shooting blind at an unknown target. Individual staff performance data should inform every single decision your organization makes about talent: who gets promoted, where you invest professional development resources, and how you embed strategic succession planning to prepare for future organizational evolution. Market data should inform how much individuals are compensated and how. Engagement data should inform priorities for improvement. Edgility’s Talent Equity Assessment also offers actionable insights and suggestions to address any issues it uncovers.
- Put it all together to inform your talent strategy. Once you know what your organization aspires to achieve, what skill gaps exist in your talent pool, and how engaged your staff is, and you have concrete data to refer to, your strategy will become clear. Top talent priorities and areas of urgency will rise to the surface. Your job will now be to translate these into concrete goals, initiatives, and actions that the organization can take to advance talent practices.
When your most important resource is your people, talent strategy is business strategy. A good talent strategy can empower your organization to attract top talent, maintain coverage for critical roles, increase employee performance and keep employees engaged leading to improved business performance and more impact on the communities you serve. Creating and maintaining a plan to attract, retain and develop talent is an integral part of any organization’s overall strategy, and we’d love to help you develop or optimize yours. Reach out to chat with one of Edgility’s Talent Management experts about your talent strategy today!