Learning Strategy

The Simple 6 Step Guide For a High-Performing Talent Strategy

I don’t care what anyone says.

Building a talent strategy is tough. I have a few war stories. I’m sure you do too.

Smart companies are reshaping their talent strategies

Bain & Company provides some useful pointers to future-proof your talent strategies in their working futures report.

I’ve summed them up here with a sprinkle of my own thoughts:

1/ From Talent Taker to Talent Maker

In the cutthroat world of business, companies have often acted as “talent takers,” looking externally to fill skill gaps. It’s the classic ‘build vs. buy’ dilemma.

The New Way: Bain & Co. suggests a paradigm shift—become a “Talent Maker.” Focus on the goldmine of untapped potential within your existing workforce.

Something to try: Why not start an internal “Talent Marketplace” where employees can pitch their hidden skills? It’s like eBay but for talent within your company.

Tool to Consider: Check out Gloat, a talent marketplace platform that can help you unlock internal mobility.

2/ Rethink L&D Models

Traditional L&D models are as outdated as flip phones. Side note: I saw one in the wild the other day. Trippy!

The New Way: Bain recommends creating frameworks that align with individual strengths and career aspirations. Sounds simple but not so straightforward.

Something to try: Consider creating specific learning pathways that match skills and roles in your organisation.

Tool to Consider: Degreed offers skill-building pathways tailored to individual needs.

3/ Think Laterally About Career Journeys

Vertical career ladders are so last decade.

The New Way: Embrace lateral career paths to cater to diverse strengths and interests. That means more than your typical ‘traditional’ skills.

Something to try: Encourage career maps instead of a ladder, offering multiple directions for growth. Check this article for more inspo.

Tool to Consider: Progression is great for building modern-day career maps. I’ve used the tool with two previous companies and it worked well.

4/ Create Better Visibility on Evolving Talent Needs

Companies often struggle to articulate their future talent needs, leaving employees in the dark about their career paths.

Future skills discussions often end up as opinion circuses rather than data-driven dialogues.

The New Way: Be transparent about the skills needed for future business goals. Chase real data not ad-hoc opinions from conversations.

Something to try: Use data analytics to forecast skill needs—no more guessing games. Your HR and L&D systems should help with this. If they don’t, lose them.

Tool to Consider: TechWolf is a platform I like the more I read about it. Check it out for yourself to learn more.

5/ Support Career Development

While each of us is ultimately responsible for our career development, companies can play a supportive role too.

Provide the right tools, better visibility, and an open environment for career discussions. People don’t want to feel like cogs in a machine but rather active participants in shaping their career paths.

The New Way: Empower them as active participants in their career paths.

Something to try: Regular Career Health Check-ups can go a long way. Yes, it’s simple but always effective.

Tool to Consider: Quite a few in this space. Progression can help with their career check-in support tools. As can Culture Amp. Always do your own research!

6/ Diverse Skill Sets

Skills pay the bills!

They’re the currency we use to play in the career marketplace.

The New Way: Bain encourages investment in a diverse and adaptable set of skills to keep pace with global shifts.

Something to try: Run a quarterly skills health check to identify gaps and opportunities. This is probably one of the best tools I ever implemented in the corpo world.

Tool to Consider: You could do this manually, but that would be a pain. My advice is to see if you can leverage existing HR and L&D tech to do this. If not, investigate something like TechWolf.

Go do your thing!

Ok. Now go forth, and kick-ass with your super-amazing talent strategy.

You’re welcome 😉

Before you go… 👋

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