Integrating Talent and Business Strategies for better Organization Performance

In the last three years the business environment has experienced a pandemic, geopolitical turmoil, rapid adoption of technology and economic polarization; these challenges have tested the effectiveness of the talent strategies pushing many organizations into the reactive mode. (Previous insights on Talent Shortage were shared here)

Why the need to thrive and not survive?

According to a 2018 survey done by McKinsey, there is a significant relationship between talent management—when done well—and organizational performance. Only 5 percent of respondents say their organizations’ talent management has been very effective at improving company performance. But those that do are much more likely to say they outperform their competitors.

The alignment of the talent management strategy with the business strategy therefore becomes more essential for survival and continuity for organizations.

How can Leadership Integrate Talent and Business Strategies?

To be effective, talent strategy and planning should be integrated into the annual business planning process, with leadership investing in initiatives to deliver this strategy.

The Human Resources (HR) practitioners can play a critical role in making sure that Talent Management Strategy is integrated with Business strategy by;

  • Developing an evidence-based talent strategy.

When developing a talent strategy, gather all relevant business data to gain insights into how the workforce impacts the success of the company. Key questions like what drives sales trends, how are product development cycles affected by the available talent and what kinds of consumer behaviours can the company expect? Only by understanding these kinds of factors can HR practitioners truly understand what the impact is of talent on the organization’s operations.

  • Having Clarity On Goals And KPIs

Clear business goals are a good starting point. Having clarity on key strategic areas and key performance indicators (KPIs) in the short and medium term will enable better and swifter people decisions. This helps avoid misalignment whose consequences are detrimental to the business.

  • Understanding What Talent The Organization Needs

After understanding the business goals, HR professionals will be able to recognize what talent it will take to achieve those goals. Talent management has evolved from focusing on specific skills to placing a priority on finding talent with the right behavioural traits and that will be a good cultural fit.

  • Leveraging Simplified Strategy Communication

One simple way is through a simplified version of strategy where an organization highlights its goals, purpose, where and how to win. Identify key strategic areas, initiatives and key performance indicators (KPIs) for the year. HR practitioners with the support of organization leadership can describe how talent is the difference to attaining set objectives.

  • Aiming For Diversity of Thinking or Thought Process

HR practitioners should aim for cognitive diversity; People who always align for fear of unsettling the leadership will not help the organization stress-test  ideas or bring new approaches to the table. Diversity in experience, background and level will help organizations get the best business results.

  • Implementing Internal Coaching Programs

Use of internal coaching and mentoring programs that are aligned to different roles across the entire organization are much more effective as it connects people at all levels and creates strong trust.

  • Embracing a longer-term talent outlook.

The market environment can evolve quickly, and business strategies need to be agile enough to respond to the environment. HR practitioners need to have the ability to pivot depending on changing pressures. To achieve this, HR practitioners need to have regular conversations with the C-suite and business leaders who are closest to the market. This helps to gain insights that will enable adjustment of the whole talent management framework as needed to support the organization’s priorities.

It also helps to have a comprehensive overview of where the company will be going in One, Five and Ten years from now.  This will enable better alignment of talent needs from skills required for new projects and automation to headcount increases based on expansion plans of the business.


Research has shown that if an organization gets the right people with the right skills focused on the right initiatives, the benefits are seen across the board: higher morale, productivity, innovation and financial performance. A talent strategy designed and linked to business objectives produces stronger outcomes than simply adopting best HR practices.


It is vital that HR practitioners and Organization Leadership start connecting talent and business strategies now. Linking what the business is trying to achieve with the talent or people will not only determine level of success in line with set goals but also position HR practitioners as a strategic partner to the business through creation of talent strategies that will add value to the organization for the long term.

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