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Talent planning accelerates performance for high-growth companies

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Talent planning accelerates performance for high-growth companies The future of an organization lies with its people because they help a company achieve its strategic goals. Attracting and retaining talent is the first step to having a high-performing, healthy organization.

Focusing on talent results in high growth According to research by the National Center for the Middle Market (NCMM) conducted in October 2016, talent planning is great for business: “Companies that enjoy an annual revenue growth of 10% or more are significantly more likely than slower-growing organizations to say they perform very well or extremely well at talent-planning initiatives such as identifying critical positions and can’t-lose players within the organization and engaging senior and line management in the talent-planning process” (p.4).(1)

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To stay competitive, high-growth companies need to develop and update their talent plans to attract and retain the talent they need. Yet, high-growth companies have limited resources and stringent budgets. How can they hold their ground in such a competitive market? We present a few fundamental actions that can make a great difference.

1.  Align your talent-planning strategy with your corporate strategy

A talent-planning strategy must align with corporate strategy since, without this alignment, the company will not attract the necessary talent to drive business results and enable the company’s future success. According to the NCMM research, high-growth companies need to focus on talent planning and on engaging both leaders and employees in the process. Results show that 61% of leaders of high-growth companies identify talent planning as a top priority for today’s businesses (p.9).

2.  Embrace the demands of the current workforce
In addition, companies need to embrace the demands of the current workforce. Research has consistently shown that the makeup of the workforce is changing seismically: millennials are the dominant segment of the workforce and they have different demands and expectations than previous generations(2).  According to the NCMM research, 81% of leaders of high-growth companies recognize that the future leaders of their companies will need a different skill set than the one that current leaders have (p.17).

3.  Establish competitive total rewards
Is compensation the way to meet the demands of this new workforce? Of course, the adage among employers is that you need to have the right compensation package to attract top talent. “High-growth companies will always prioritize the financial aspects of their business and require a return on their compensation investment,” says Bruce Benesh, Human Capital Services practice partner. Yet, as Benesh says, “While a great compensation package remains a key attraction for talent, it is no longer enough.”

As Benesh reflects, to stay competitive, high-growth clients need to think more comprehensively about how prospective talent evaluates a total rewards package. But the definition of this package has shifted and is now determined not only by talent acquisition alone, but also by talent planning. It includes more intangible rewards, such as creating a successful candidate experience, delivering a successful onboarding experience, having a strong talent development and succession plan, and having a corporate culture that permeates an employee’s work life throughout his/her tenure. It also extends beyond it through an engaging alumni program.

4.  Prioritize culture
As Business Consulting and Technology Partner Erica O’Malley shares, “High-growth companies can further become attractive to top talent through a focus on building a great experience for their employees, even though they’re expecting bottom-line results.” The winning ticket is to have not only a competitive total rewards package, but also the right type of business environment that makes people want to stay and deliver results. This means that the work environment sets employees up for success through resources and adequate processes, while also supporting their career development and dreams.  

5.  Use talent planning to build long-term relationships
Successful high-growth companies have further extended their focus on employees’ work experience by developing alumni strategies that keep former employees connected even when they have transitioned to other opportunities. Current technology makes these programs possible and cost-effective. Why not turn an employee’s departure into an opportunity to cultivate lifetime relationships and invest in the future? The alumni employee can be a brand ambassador for talent referrals and may even come back in the future, bringing more experience and perspective.

Investing in talent today pays off long term Companies will need to make an investment in their talent to succeed. They can start by assessing their corporate culture and by adopting various talent-planning programs, such as creating candidate talent pools. These can be developed by identifying appropriate sourcing channels; by building strong relationships between recruiters and hiring managers; by aligning the candidate experience with the employee experience; by creating engagement programs; and by establishing an excellent alumni program.

And while such an investment might seem aspirational and often hard to connect to business strategy and return on investment (ROI), it is measurable. Culture and employee engagement can be measured indirectly in terms of absenteeism and turnover, and directly in terms of productivity and spending. This translates into a measurable ROI and a bottom-line impact.

High-growth companies can look inward to examine and improve their corporate culture as an investment in retaining their current talent and in attracting new top talent. In today’s competitive workforce market, talent planning is no longer a nice-to-have, but a must-have. An investment in building a great corporate culture lays the groundwork for a relationship between employer and employee that can last longer than the term of employment.

Contact For details of total-rewards strategies, accounting and tax implementation.
Bruce Benesh
Partner, Human Capital Services
+1 803 231 3099

For questions on getting the most out of your business strategy through people and culture.
Erica O'Malley

Partner, Business Consulting and Technology
+1 312 602 8786
(1) The National Center for the Middle Market (NCMM) (2017).  Mastering Talent Planning: A Framework for Success.
(2) Talent 2020: Deloitte’s longitudinal survey series.   Talent 2020: Surveying the talent paradox from the employee’s perspective.