What does it take to get there?
Leaders in talent development have understood the value of working in strategic alignment with the rest of their organizations, but now they can quantify it. The Predictive Index's 2020 report The State of Talent Optimization, a study of 600 executives, demonstrates a strong connection between having aligned talent and business strategies and company performance.
The report reveals that highly aligned organizations had an average strategic success rate of 89 percent, compared to 73 percent for all organizations. Highly aligned organizations had lower turnover rates for top-performing employees, higher employee performance overall, and higher Glassdoor ratings than other companies. Further, executives at highly aligned organizations spent less of their time solving people problems.
So, what can talent development leaders do to achieve better alignment and help their companies realize these benefits? One useful practice is cultivating business leaders who vocalize their support for talent development. The recent Association for Talent Development research report Strategic Alignment: Orchestrating Organizational Success found that with business leaders who vocalized their support for talent development to a high or very high extent, doing so had a positive, statistically significant connection to being highly aligned. Companies where talent development leaders and data influenced business strategy to a high or very high extent were also significantly more likely to be highly aligned.
To cultivate other leaders' support and influence to drive alignment, the talent development function should demonstrate its credibility as a business partner for the organization. Kimberly Currier, senior director for talent development for Americas at AECOM, says the key is "to communicate as a business function with a business-minded approach to what you do."
In an interview for the ATD report, she explains that communicating in this way requires you to "know how the business makes money and what it needs to do to achieve its financial goals." For example, to Currier that requires "understanding where our profit and losses come from, the general nature of the projects we get, and the human capital we need to excel on those projects," along with other industry-specific information.