Making HR a strategic partner in tech-based businesses starts with talent management (part 2)
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Making HR a strategic partner in tech-based businesses starts with talent management (part 2)

from  February 18, 2021 | 3 min read

As organizations become more and more tech driven, departments like HR are faced with an opportunity they’ve never had before. An opportunity to leave redundant manual work to the robots and take a seat at the table as strategic partners – equipped with rock-solid data and actionable insights that can help guide decisions from the C-suite down.

But stepping up to this role will require a step-change in the way HR teams operate. It’s not just a question of buying in the right tools, but of being at the center of a cultural change that affects the entire organization. And that cultural change must begin in the area of talent management.

In this 2 part series we’ll be exploring how organizations can create a talent strategy that attracts the best people for the job. And also, create the conditions that allow the organization to embrace the tools necessary for its future success. You can find part 1 here.

3. Make proactive moves to get ahead of your competitors

Best talent management practices position leaders within the organization to take advantage of every opportunity in order to help their businesses.

Simply jumping on new trends will not lead to success when it comes to attracting employees or keeping them around. You and your team – and your organization’s leaders – will need to be able to anticipate and adapt to new opportunities before the rest of the market in order to truly reap the benefits in engagement and retention. And this means positioning yourselves to work proactively rather than reactively.

This will mean structuring your teams to set aside time and resources to experiment and to quickly embrace and adopt new policies. In everything from flexible working to new forms of engagement and beyond. It’s unlikely to be easy for many in the organization to get behind this at first. But positioning your team to execute at a proactive level as opposed to a reactive level not only saves time and resources, but also moves your team into a strategic talent management mode that will support the development of key employees in the organization. And help you to truly highlight your value to leadership.

4. Pick training essentials carefully – and execute them well

Taking a proactive stance on assessing key skills and skillsets and the need for training will help you to position your department as a strategic partner within the organization.

Training occupies the unusual position of being both essential and unwanted. Training initiatives often fail to live up to management expectations in terms of their ROI – either because the expectations themselves were unrealistic to begin with, or because the workforce fails to adopt new methods thanks to any one of a number of obstacles.

Overcoming these obstacles means taking a surgical approach to the allocation of training budgets and resources, and treating every training initiative as an organizational change project. Focus on different techniques of change management to get the highest utilization out of your training, and to set expectations early at a reasonable level as to both results and ROI. This will help demonstrate to your leadership that you speak their language when it comes to upskilling your people, and will also give you an opportunity to present a significant cost savings when you reveal your new, more targeted and intelligent training approach.

5. Use a variety of tools to assess the capabilities of your workforce

The mechanistic processes of the factory floor must be done away with in the 21st century to create a compelling and effective talent strategy. While traditional HR assessment activities like annual appraisals and reviews can still be effective – especially if they’re done consistently and correctly – they simply aren’t adequate to assess many of the factors which influence employee performance.

For instance, annual or even quarterly conversations with employees are often completely inadequate as a measure of engagement - which can trend up or down much more rapidly than scheduled “milestone meetings” are able to track, and which is most effectively addressed with much more frequent and small-scale engagement pulses.

Remember – the better each individual employee performs, the quicker you can surpass your competition, gain market share, and achieve your goals. This means anything you can do to make your employees more productive should be on the table. From flexible working hours or practices to nontraditional compensation (in the form of pay-for-performance or similar.)

But your ability to implement these new approaches in a coherent fashion that’s trackable to overall business goals will depend heavily on the tools you have available to you. Traditional HR software won’t be able to help you here – and you should be building your tech stack and your talent strategies to align with each other, as well as with the needs of the business.