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Executives and HR management have always been focused on basic talent management—acquiring, hiring and retaining talented employees. But, to drive optimal levels of success, business leaders need engaged, high-performing employees. The key to inciting a workforce to greatness is to align your talent management with company strategy, define consistent leadership criteria across all functional areas, and identify specific competencies (analytical, technical, education, experience) to cultivate for continuing growth.

Business leaders who implement the best talent management processes are more prepared than their competitors to compete in the global economy and capitalize quickly on new opportunities. True success is only available when companies do more than adapt to long-term trends; they must be able to anticipate and jump on new opportunities before the rest of the market. A strategic talent management plan allows you to:

  • Become "proactive" versus "reactive". Fill your critical talent management needs and address company and industry changes promptly;
  • Identify essential skills to be developed in all employees, and minimize training costs by focusing on key development areas; and
  • Improve your recruiting process by identifying high-quality candidates using job descriptions based upon the expertise of your high performing employees holding uniquely valued company or industry competencies.

Align individual goals with corporate strategy

The best talent management plan is closely aligned with the company’s strategic plan and overall business needs. Goal alignment is a powerful management tool that not only clarifies job roles for individual employees, but also demonstrates ongoing value of your employees to the organization. When you engage employees in their work through goal alignment, you create greater employee ownership in your company's ultimate success; they become more committed to your company and achieve higher levels of job performance.

To achieve "goal alignment" in your organization, you must first clearly communicate your strategic business objectives across the entire company. By allowing managers to access and view the goals of other departments, your organization can greatly reduce redundancy. Goal sharing also helps departmental heads find ways to better support each other, as well as identify areas where they may be unintentionally working at cross purposes. With everyone working together toward the same objectives, your company can execute strategy faster, with more flexibility and adaptability. Essentially, goal alignment strengthens your leadership and creates organizational agility by allowing managers to:

  • Focus employees’ efforts on your company's most important goals;
  • Understand more clearly all responsibilities associated with specific goals; and
  • Strengthen accountability by assigning measurable and clearly articulated goals that are visible company-wide.

Case study: Loews Hotels

The issue:

Loews Hotels shifted strategic focus and realized it was critical to their success that everyone—were aligned and working on the new set of goals together.

The solution:

Loews Hotels communicated the new brand direction, goals and introduced SAP SuccessFactors software modules—Performance and Goals and Succession and Development—to drive the talent management process throughout the organization.

The result:

By aligning and communicating goals company-wide, Loews created an environment of transparency where everyone is working toward the same goals and the end result has been impressive, both company- and industry-wide.

  • Guest satisfaction goal (measured by Market Metrics)—risen to 2nd place from 5th place in their competitive set in 2008.
  • Only Hotel Company to receive a B- on the NAACP hospitality report card. No other company in their industry scored higher.
  • Achieving stronger employee satisfaction results year-after-year.

By narrowing our focus and having visibility and alignment throughout the organization, everyone knows the part they play in achieving the company’s goals. We are all in it together—the success of a company lies in everyone’s ability to make those goals a reality.
— Jenny Lucas, Director of Education & Development, Loews Hotels

Create highly-skilled internal talent pools

Strategically minded organizations are able to change ahead of the curve when it comes to planning and developing a workforce with the right competencies. They have deeper strategic insight into their employees, and use that insight to proactively put the right workforces in place to effectively respond to urgent marketplace needs.

At one time or another, most companies will find themselves faced with a situation with limited time to assess viable candidates due to a planned (or unplanned) change in leadership or industry conditions. For many of these businesses, a prolonged leadership void is too risky. It raises questions about a company's internal talent pool. Is it robust enough? How much attention has been given to developing internal talent, starting at the senior executive level? Are there ready candidates at every key position?

A critical element of a successful talent management program is the generation of "talent pools" within a company—a reliable and consistent internal source of talent and a valuable piece of the succession planning process. The development of skilled talent pools makes it easier to develop desirable skill sets in a broader group of employees, resulting in higher performance across all levels and functions. By cultivating talent pools internally you are ensuring that you will have experienced and trained employees prepared to assume leadership roles as they become available.

Break down information silos and develop collaboration

To drive success, business leaders must do whatever they can to overcome the organizational silos that prevent the flow of information throughout the organization. For companies to perform faster and with more flexibility, knowledge and experience must be readily available—or, even better, proactively delivered - to the right people at the right time. In many cases, the innovation required to meet a new marketplace challenge exists somewhere in the organization; the challenge is tapping into it.

In order to cultivate a collaborative atmosphere, management needs to align the metrics for success—if success is based only on individual performance, you will be sending mixed messages to your employees. Beyond simply encouraging collaboration, organizations need to provide the tools to facilitate easier collaborative efforts. To drive better collaboration across an organization, employees and management need access to rich employee data, including experience, interests and special skills, such as language abilities. Centrally locating this robust information drives greater success companywide – employees can reach across departments or offices to tap into a knowledge base and collaborate easily, while managers can use the information to make informed talent management decisions to increase business performance.

Create a pay-for-performance culture

In a pay-for-performance culture, managers gain easy access to all the information they need to reward individuals for actual performance—360 degree feedback, goal alignment metrics, review data and performance notes taken throughout the year. This allows managers to make consistent, quantifiably fair decisions, thus avoiding improper compensation.

Many companies use employee assessments to help them motivate their employees to reach their full potential. This provides better results as each employee’s reason for working is unique. Addressing each individual’s needs in the organization will create a highly motivated workforce that strives for the best as a whole.

By measuring the essential factors that mark the difference between success and failure in specific jobs, your organization will be able to put the right person into every position, allowing them to utilize their talents without limitations. This leads to greater job satisfaction, improved morale and employee retention because your organization is staffed with a workforce of people who are highly productive, skilled and committed to doing their very best.


Businesses that outperform their competition know that strategic talent management is essential in building the right workforce necessary for precise business execution. Executives use analytics and diagnostic tools to move beyond generalities or "gut feelings" into detailed analyses of workforce performance drivers.

The ability to rapidly train and retrain employees according to business need, create opportunities for real-time collaboration, and support the workforce with better analytics are all benefits of a strategic talent management process that will drive true business success.

About SAP SuccessFactors

SAP SuccessFactors Human Experience Management (HXM) Suite helps you completely reinvent the entire employee experience. You can shift from traditional HR transactions to engaging, end-to-end experiences, using intelligent technology to make each interaction simpler and more meaningful. And by linking employee feedback to operational data, you’ll understand what’s happening and why, so you can continuously deliver unexpectedly exceptional experiences that keep your business growing.

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