Report: Companies concede talent strategy doesn't support business strategy

RP news wires

Manpower Inc., a world leader in innovative workforce solutions, warns that unless companies act now to create a long-term workforce strategy that aligns with their business strategy, they will struggle to find the talent they need to drive future business growth.

"In the current economic environment, employers are thinking short term about talent needs, but if businesses don't change this mindset, external forces in the rapidly-changing world of work will leave them talent-poor – an excellent business strategy is no use if you do not have the talent to execute it," said Jeff Joerres, Manpower chairman and CEO. "Just as it would be unthinkable for a chief financial officer to focus on the short-term instead of implementing a five- to 10-year debt-to-capital plan, human resources requires a five- to 10-year talent plan. The ability to have the talent plan reflect where the talent is coming from, and which talent should be owned long-term versus which talent should be owned short-term, leads to a robust workforce strategy."

In a new Fresh Perspectives Paper, titled: Is Talent Holding You Back? Designing Workforce Strategy for Sustained Business Growth, Manpower argues that short-term thinking regarding workforce strategies is being driven by continuing high unemployment globally, but increasing competition, shifting demographics, individual choice and the rise of technology mean current strategies are inadequate to support their growth plans.

In addition, Manpower's Workforce Strategy Survey reveals that almost a quarter of employers across 36 countries and territories concede that their organizations' workforce strategy does not support their business strategy, or don't know if it does. Among those two subsets of respondents, 53 percent admit they are not taking steps to address this issue. With the talent mismatch – the inability to find the right skills in the right place at the right time – becoming more acute as the global economy thaws, companies risk being without the skills they need to execute their business strategy.

"Organizations need to develop expertise in identifying where talent gaps are and to know how to fill them," added Joerres. "This means building from within by placing high-potential employees and top performers in business-critical areas, as well as hiring in from outside."

Joerres on September 27 will address human resources leaders at the 2010 World Human Resources Congress in Montreal, Canada, where he will explain that post-recession, organizations require a flexible approach to talent management, closely aligned to business key objectives.

An aligned workforce strategy should take an outside-in approach and be sensitive to the rapid pace of change in the world of work, keeping up with demographic trends to gauge whether or not the talent needed is available and finding innovative ways to tap into different talent pools. Companies need to consider flexible work models as appropriate for their organization and flexible workforce mixes to give a dynamic mix of contingent and permanent labor. HR leaders should review their people practices to determine how they can attract, retain and unleash the potential of their workforce in contemporary ways.

In addition, businesses must not overlook current employees who can and want to be upskilled to plug talent gaps. The key is to identify those employees that are teachable. Training and development is a primary driver of engagement for employees and builds capabilities to the benefit of the organization, yet Manpower's research shows that more than a third of employees say their companies have not made training and development a priority. A successful workforce strategy identifies talent gaps and then includes a plan to close that gap. Doing so, involves a flexible mix of "building" and "buying" the skills needed for an organization to achieve its business strategy.

"Just as with business strategy, a workforce strategy does no good to sit on shelf," added Joerres. "It requires continuous reference and challenging to ensure that the workforce strategy is robust enough to accelerate the organization's execution of its business strategy."

A full copy of the Manpower Fresh Perspectives paper, Is Talent Holding You Back? Designing Workforce Strategy for Sustained Business Growth, is available at:

About Manpower Inc.
Manpower Inc. is a world leader in innovative workforce solutions; creating and delivering services that enable its clients to win in the changing world of work. With more than 60 years' experience, Manpower offers employers a range of services and solutions for the entire employment and business cycle including permanent, temporary and contract recruitment; employee assessment and selection; training; outplacement; outsourcing and consulting. Manpower's worldwide network of nearly 4,000 offices in 82 countries and territories is the largest in the industry and enables the company to meet the needs of its 400,000 clients per year, including small and medium size enterprises in all industry sectors, as well as the world's largest multinational corporations. The focus of Manpower's work is on raising productivity through improved quality, efficiency and cost-reduction across the total workforce, enabling clients to concentrate on their core business activities.

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