Building Leaders Who Build the Future: Aligning Talent Strategies with Business Goals

We hear it again and again: People are a company’s most important asset. Even the most brilliant, well-thought-out competitive strategy simply won’t come off without the right people in the right places to make it happen.

That simple truth is at the heart of one of the most elusive goals CEOs face today: aligning talent management strategies with strategic initiatives. It’s a challenge increasingly evident to today’s business leaders. In fact, according to a recent PwC study, only 12% of senior executives feel their businesses and human resource leaders are aligned in terms of recognizing talent as a strategic differentiator and have aligned talent practices with their business strategies.

“The level of concern that CEOs reported about the ability to have the right talent in their companies to be able to further grow was at an all-time high in 2015,” Jeff Hesse, who leads PwC’s U.S. Human Capital Consulting Practice, told CEOs gathered for a recent roundtable discussion sponsored by PwC.

“Only 12% of senior executives feel their businesses and human resource leaders are aligned in terms of recognizing talent as a strategic differentiator and have aligned talent practices with their business strategies.”

While recruiting and retaining top performers has long been a competitive imperative for companies, trends like globalization and urbanization are intensifying the challenge for business leaders, who increasingly face a dearth of talent in the places where they most need it. As Rob Schneider, CEO of the office and hotel furniture company Kimball International put it, “A challenge we’re very much focused on is tracking talent. How can we be the employer of choice everywhere we’re located to track the best people?”

Shifting demographics is another frequently mentioned factor roundtable participants cited as fueling the talent challenge. “We have a bit of a generational gap between the 65-year-old owners and the new talent—a lot of them millennials—coming in,” said Matthew Robinson, CEO of W.A. Robinson Asset Management. “I’d really like to know how to bridge that gap.”

With millennials making up an increasing portion of the workforce, many business leaders expressed similar concerns about attracting, retaining and developing young talent. “Our challenge is building the next generation of leadership,” asserted Ken Bram, president of the valve manufacturing company Ausco. “At 50, I’m the youngest on the leadership team.”

In grappling with all of these disparate forces that affect efforts around talent management, companies can easily lose sight of the big-picture goal of aligning talent strategies with corporate strategy—particularly if human resources is shunted off to the side.

“Giving the chief of human resources a seat at the management-team table is probably the most important thing,” said Hesse, who noted that senior-level support is critical to alignment.


MORE LIKE THIS

  • Get the CEO Briefing

    Sign up today to get weekly access to the latest issues affecting CEOs in every industry
  • upcoming events

    Roundtable

    Strategic Planning Workshop

    1:00 - 5:00 pm

    We are in a period of rapid change. Customer needs, technologies, competitors and internal capabilities require companies to review and update their strategies for the new realities. In this workshop, strategy experts Steve Rutan and Denise Harrison will show you a systematic approach to strategic planning to help you refine or redefine your business strategy and approach including:

    • Learn what you need to know to develop an effective strategic plan. Put the right players on the strategic planning team.
    • Develop strategies that leverage your company’s unique position in the marketplace. Lift your management team beyond “business as usual” thought processes and activities.
    • Translate your strategies into action. Achieve your vision for success and generate superior financial results.
    • Identify exactly what you need to do now to position your company for future success.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $695 will be added to your total.

    New York, NY: ​​​Chief Executive's Corporate Citizenship Awards 2017

    Women in Leadership Seminar and Peer Discussion

    2:00 - 5:00 pm

    Female leaders face the same issues all leaders do, but they often face additional challenges too. In this peer session, we will facilitate a discussion of best practices and how to overcome common barriers to help women leaders be more effective within and outside their organizations. 

    Limited space available.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $495 will be added to your total.

    Golf Outing

    10:30 - 5:00 pm
    General’s Retreat at Hermitage Golf Course
    Sponsored by UBS

    General’s Retreat, built in 1986 with architect Gary Roger Baird, has been voted the “Best Golf Course in Nashville” and is a “must play” when visiting the Nashville, Tennessee area. With the beautiful setting along the Cumberland River, golfers of all capabilities will thoroughly enjoy the golf, scenery and hospitality.

    The golf outing fee includes transportation to and from the hotel, greens/cart fees, use of practice facilities, and boxed lunch. The bus will leave the hotel at 10:30 am for a noon shotgun start and return to the hotel after the cocktail reception following the completion of the round.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $295 will be added to your total.