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Unlocking success: A guide to the 7 dimensions of Talent Health

Cornerstone Editors

The workplace is changing at a pace we’ve never experienced before. And talent has more options for work than ever before due to a number of factors, including a persisting skills confidence gap, remote work, flexible growth opportunities like gig assignments and more. To attract and retain talent in today’s dynamic business environment, employers should offer something their hiring competition doesn’t.

According to Forbes recent publication, workers ages 18-34 want vibrant learning and growth opportunities at work above all else. But where should businesses start in making improvements to their talent development programs?

The Cornerstone People Research Lab developed the Talent Health Index to define the essential components of a complete talent program and help businesses overcome their most pressing talent challenges today. The THI outlines the 7 critical dimensions that comprise a successful talent program. Together, these seven dimensions of talent health can be used as a framework for a holistic approach to managing and nurturing talent within organisations.

Culture and technology

In this dimension, the CHRO is involved in the organisation's strategic planning processes. They have a seat at the executive table and drive the people’s agenda forward. One of the objectives is to prioritise learning and development and showcase it as a strategic differentiator among hiring competition. Mature businesses view their employee’s skills as the way to overcome current and future organisational challenges — and they help their people gain these valued skills. They do so, in part, through cutting-edge HR and talent technology. This includes remote work tools, internal communication technology, learning platforms and collaboration software. For successful adoption, these technologies should align with organisational values and seek to enhance talent operations in the near — and long-term.

Skills strategy

In this dimension, a well-defined skills strategy is central to overcoming challenges and driving innovation. Mature businesses understand that proactively tackling the skills gaps is integral to maintaining talent health. They identify skills gaps among their workforce and implement targeted training and development programs to help close them. These businesses have transformed into skills marketplaces for their people (with workforce planning top of mind) and empower workers to take learning into their own hands. There is a strong focus on the skills necessary to accomplish future tasks rather than degrees or prior experience.

Learning and development

In this dimension, continuous learning fuels the organisation — both for business advancement and its people’s development. Mature organisations realise that the need goes beyond a formalised learning program and LMS. These businesses have a sense of responsibility to their people. They value individual development journeys and encourage their employees to take on growth opportunities, whether upskilling or reskilling. The infrastructure must be available first, which starts with a proactive skills marketplace built from a well-defined skills strategy. This promotes employee loyalty and generates positive employment brand associations in the market. It also improves the business’s workforce agility, which is vital in this ever-changing market.

Content strategy

In this dimension, regularly curated content directly tied to overcoming the business’s challenges is an essential part of the learning and development plan. Mature organisations invest the time and effort upfront in building a well-thought-out and sophisticated content strategy instead of being reactive to business or market demands. Regular, expertly curated content can promote compliance training, engagement, productivity and retention. An organisation that values a strong content strategy turns employees into curators for their own area of expertise. This incites a sense of ownership for people to share their knowledge with the rest of the business.

Performance management

In this dimension, leaders drive individual and team performance as a strategic process to achieve business outcomes. The HR team is constantly reviewing performance data and spotting trends and biases, sharing ways to improve. Continuous improvement is embedded into the business, and people embrace the expectation of individual growth. A mature organisation provides the entire workforce visibility into performance goals, metrics and results, so people can clearly see how their contributions impact the business.

Talent mobility

Internal recruitment is proactive in this dimension, and employees are given insight into open positions, projects and gigs. In fact, people are encouraged to grow into roles within the organisation driven by personalised development plans. Mature organisations have deliberate succession planning practices in place that are led by management. Their on-the-ground input is vital to direct job requirements and skills needed to move the business forward. Employees who have the opportunity to move laterally or get promoted gain cross-functional experience and develop well-rounded skills; they also report being more engaged and loyal. A win-win for both talent and businesses.

Talent reporting, data and analytics

In this dimension, businesses understand how data-driven insights can help identify trends, challenges and opportunities. Mature organisations often have a dedicated HR analytics team that uses centralised reports and relies on visual dashboards to facilitate data interpretation. They place emphasis on making data-driven decisions to optimise talent strategies and exploring predictive analytics to get ahead of future business needs. These businesses are actively sharing data with people across the company, including giving managers access to self-service reports so they can inform their day-to-day decisions.

A holistic approach to talent management

For long-term organisational success, adopting a holistic approach to talent management is important. The demands from candidates and employees aren’t waning (and may only grow). The THI can help you identify the areas of your talent development approach that need a little TLC.

While these seven dimensions will make a difference in your talent health, they collectively contribute to a thriving organisation and a vibrant workplace culture. Examine each one carefully and explore strategies to enhance it. Often, simply surveying employees and candidates about what they’re looking for can help you prioritise where to start. Determine how you can start making strides today.

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