Vistage Research Center

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Strategic HR: Your secret weapon in the talent war

Talent tops the list of major decisions CEOs will make this year, with 87% of Vistage survey respondents citing this issue as #1. Talent should be a strategic priority for your organization because a tight labor market, coupled with expectations for increased hiring, means that both recruitment and retention are becoming increasingly difficult.

The National Center for the Middle Market (NCMM), in its Fall 2017 report Help Wanted: How To Find and Develop the Talent You Need to Grow confirmed that talent management issues like recruiting, training, and retention top the list of challenges companies of this size continue to face.

The bad news

As outlined in the NCMM report, typically, middle market companies:

  • Lack extensive brand awareness, so don’t have a large pool of candidates knocking at the door.
  • Have a leaner HR function with less robust talent forecasting, recruiting, and training capabilities, which can mean losing qualified candidates to larger companies.
  • Maintain a stronger HR focus on the transactional versus strategic, stifling creativity in talent acquisition and management.
  • Lack a strategy for identifying current and future skills gaps and a succession plan for key positions.
  • Can’t offer as many opportunities for professional development and career advancement, impeding both retention efforts and the ability to groom talent from within.
  • Get fewer resources than larger companies from external sources like educational institutions, trade associations, and governmental organizations, limiting workforce development.

The good news

You don’t have to be typical! After years of hearing author Jim Collins tell us that you have to “get the right people on the bus,” companies are recognizing that HR strategies are what attract and retain the right people. Historically, HR has been relegated to the back room. Increasingly, HR leaders are assuming more strategic roles at the side of CEOs—and it’s paying off.

The trends

Here are some of trends we’re seeing as we follow the evolving role of HR:

  • More strategic and future-oriented
  • Focus on business results and competitive advantage
  • Marketing expertise and perspective on creating and maintaining employee brand
  • Central focus on candidate experience
  • Concentration on jobs and talent with the biggest business impact
  • Use of data rather than intuition for recruiting, learning, and predicting performance
  • Talent advisors with business acumen

So, how is HR evolving at your organization? Is it becoming more strategic to meet market demands? Is strategic HR is your secret weapon in the war for talent?

Watch the webinar ‘Strategic HR: Your Secret Weapon in the Talent War.’


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