Every business aspires to success. But a significant number of businesses are stumbling when it comes to the most important performance accelerator for any organisation – talent. 
According to the Cielo Talent Activation Index, just two fifths (39%) of HR, talent and recruitment executives are satisfied with the quality of their talent pool. And only a quarter (27%) believe their firm is prepared to meet the changing demands of the 2020 workforce. 
At the heart of the problem is alignment. While we all know that attracting and developing the right talent is crucial to delivering business goals, talent strategies are often designed in a vacuum. Alignment is king.
Getting on the same page
HR executives must work closely with senior management right from day one to ensure they have a say in mapping out overall business objectives. Without a seat at the table, how can HR be expected to build an effective talent strategy that meets these goals? By showing how an aligned talent strategy supports growth, they will make business leaders an offer they cannot refuse: get talent right and you will reap the rewards.
A recent study from the Corporate Research Forum in conjunction with KPMG found that just 15% of organisations reported a clear link between workforce planning and overall strategic business plans. The remaining 85% of organisations rely on reacting to workforce challenges rather than proactively preparing for future recruitment needs. Those that continue to take a back seat when it comes to bringing in the right people with the right skills, will find themselves losing out in the war for talent.
The root cause of these issues traces back to a lack of senior-level buy-in. Getting CEOs on board remains a challenge for many HR professionals. Out of habit, senior management often overlook the strategic role that HR must play in achieving financial success. In response to their oversight, it is vital that HR teams proactively make the case for elevating talent to the top of the board’s agenda, not simply wait for an invitation.
By activating clear plans and models for talent acquisition that are aligned to overall business strategy, the HR team proves that it is focused on long-term success rather than short-term solutions. Quality talent management leads to “future-proof” organisations – having the right people in the right roles and cutting lengthy recruitment processes to avoid pricey rehiring at a later stage. Strategic decision-making will ultimately strengthen the overall business and, importantly for HR executives, make the board demand that senior management partner with HR when creating business plans. 
Delivering results
To deliver impactful business outcomes, HR executives need to make sure they have enough time and resources to plan strategically and think creatively. For many leading organisations, this means placing a clear focus on talent by reassigning traditional HR tasks to more appropriate ownership. For instance, moving critical but ultimately transactional procedures such as payroll and benefits to CFOs or CAOs, which frees HR executives to focus on more strategic talent issues.
The growing adoption of talent acquisition outsourcing is an even more powerful way to prioritise internal HR responsibilities. Working with a strategic partner means that HR executives can focus on steering talent strategy while they focus on finding, attracting and onboarding the best available talent in line with business priorities. These transitions enable HR to scale their teams to exceed the expectations of business leaders and deliver tangible results against performance targets.
Ultimately, the goal of everyone in the business must be growth. It is time to prove just how crucial the HR function is – if steps are taken to align it with business strategy right from the start.