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Establish a talent-first organization

Managing talent well has become crucial for finding opportunity in the midst of change, as leaders must shape a workforce with the skills to deliver on strategy now and in the future. Financial capital isn’t the main limiting factor in rising to today’s challenges – talent is. The key to success is a talent-first mindset. Too many organizations go from initiative to implementation without thinking about the talent required. By putting talent first, the human resources function becomes a true driver of business value. We establish talent management as a distinct competitive advantage, matching talent to where the most value is at stake. By delivering on dynamic talent allocation, closing skills gaps, and transforming core systems, we partner with organizations to build the talent capabilities they need to sustain and scale impact.

What we do

Support roles and individuals that create disproportionate business value

Pinpoint critical positions with the most value and strategic importance; place the right people in these roles and support them comprehensively.

Enhance skill pools to unlock growth

Assess where a company is long and short on talent by analyzing the capabilities needed to achieve business goals; close the gaps with precision by leveraging upskilling and redeployment where possible.

Design people processes and systems to propel the organization forward

Empower the human resources function to be more strategic and analytics-based; shape capabilities to build and retain the workforce needed to advance the mission.



in speed to acquire and develop critical skills



in same-store sales performance



in human resources spend while increasing effectiveness

Featured Capabilities

Complementary to our expertise and knowledge, we offer proprietary analytics-powered digital solutions to address pressing talent questions and make faster decisions rooted in data instead of instinct.

People Analytics: With the predictive power of machine learning, People Analytics generates insights to dynamically allocate talent, identify drivers of performance, plan for the future, and boost workforce motivation while minimizing attrition.

Skills Finder: Powered by artificial intelligence, Skills Finder inventories and baselines employee skills to inform talent decisions, enable internal mobility, and discover untapped potential within the organization.

Strategic Workforce Planning: To prepare for the future, Strategic Workforce Planning enables translation of business drivers into demand for skills and capabilities, assesses expected supply within the organization and in the labor market to anticipate gaps or overages, and identifies how to solve them through reskilling, hiring, and redeployment.

Talent and Org Intelligence: An advanced analytics tool that delivers role, skill, and experience benchmarking, Talent and Org Intelligence offers an assessment of how a company’s workforce stacks up versus competitors.

Talent Match: Through collaborative technology that enables dynamic problem solving, Talent Match helps allocate top talent to critical roles, assemble agile teams, and implement strategic succession planning.

Examples of our work

Turning CEO conviction into value

Operational challenges at an industrial company had hurt financial performance, inspiring the CEO to seek a new approach to talent. By identifying top value-driving roles and enhancing pockets of critical skills, we protected more than $500 million in annual income. 

Building talent to future-proof

An insurance company wanted to meet changing customer expectations and invest in digital enablement, but success would require enhanced and fundamentally new skills. After quantifying workforce needs across the business, we created a tailored talent program including development to enable current employees to fill important skill gaps.

Cutting time to attract talent in half

The human resources team at a large consumer goods company struggled with a lengthy hiring process for important but hard-to-fill roles. Shortly after adapting agile methodologies and practices, the team achieved aggressive hiring targets in half the usual time. 

Match talent with jobs

We are proud to support Talent Exchange, an online talent marketplace that aims to address the mismatch of labor supply and demand caused by COVID-19. It is offered at no cost to companies hiring, furloughing, or laying off workers.

Featured Experts

Carla Arellano
Partner, New York
Brings a background in finance and organization in helping companies strengthen and transform their culture and talent management and create value using people analytics
Michael Barriere
Partner, New York
Draws on years of private-sector experience to build HR, leadership, and workforce capabilities that deliver business outcomes and value
Faridun Dotiwala
Partner , Mumbai
Leads performance transformations that boost organizational health, facilitating stronger leadership, shaping culture, and counseling top teams and CEOs
Neel Gandhi
Partner, New York
Advises leading organizations on how to strengthen their talent-management capabilities and build an HR function that operates as a true strategic partner and value driver for the business
Leads Talent Value Leader Academy
Arne Gast
Partner, Kuala Lumpur
Leads our Organization Practice across Asia–Pacific, bringing extensive global expertise in leadership development, organizational design, talent management, and transformational change
Bryan Hancock
Partner, Washington DC
Supports private, public, and social sector clients through expertise in talent management, organizational design, and workforce development
Asmus Komm
Partner, Hamburg
Unites diverse teams across the globe on their talent management, leadership, organization design, and change-management initiatives
Michiel Kruyt
Partner, Amsterdam
Draws on deep behavioral and organizational expertise to help leadership teams improve alignment and effectiveness. Helps clients with large-scale performance-culture transformations and leadership development.
Dana Maor
Senior Partner, Tel Aviv
Leads McKinsey’s Israel office, as well as our work on transformational change across Africa, Europe, and the Middle East. Passionate about talent management and leadership development—within client organizations, McKinsey, and society.
Mary Meaney
Senior Partner, Paris
Coleads the Organization Practice globally and is one of the leading experts in transformational change
Bill Schaninger
Senior Partner, Philadelphia
Designs and manages large-scale organizational transformations, strengthening business performance through enhanced culture, values, leadership, and talent systems.

Featured Insights


HR says talent is crucial for performance—and the pandemic proves it

– Five talent-management practices can help steer organizations through new ways of working and into the post-COVID-19 era.
Article - McKinsey Quarterly

Getting practical about the future of work

– Adapting to a digital age will require organizations—and not just employees—to equip themselves with new capabilities.
Article - McKinsey Quarterly

Are we long—or short—on talent?

– By looking at their supply of skills and talent in a new light today, organizations can take actions that better prepare their companies for tomorrow’s challenges.
Article - McKinsey Quarterly

The fairness factor in performance management

– Many systems are under stress because employees harbor doubts that the core elements are equitable. A few practical steps can change that.

Featured Podcasts

McKinsey Talks Talent

McKinsey & Company’s Bryan Hancock, Bill Schaninger, and other talent experts help you navigate a fast-changing landscape and prepare for the future of work by making talent a competitive advantage.


Next-level sales talent: HR’s message to the CEO

– How the right data-driven approach can bolster sales-force performance—and help HR draw a direct line from talent to revenues in conversations with the CEO.

The new science of talent: From roles to returns

– Getting the right people into the right roles is more vital than ever. Here’s how to deliver returns on talent faster—and help more women rise to the C-suite at the same time.
Podcast - McKinsey Quarterly

The value of talent management

– The roles that create the most value in your organization may not be at the top.

Why you should apply analytics to your people strategy

– Bringing advanced computing power and analytics capabilities to bear on people decisions in an organization is crucial to driving lasting and effective change.
Podcast - McKinsey Quarterly

Straight talk about employee evaluation and performance management

– Managing employee performance successfully requires real support for managers and a process that is recognized as fair.
Podcast - McKinsey Quarterly

Putting talent at the top of the CEO agenda

– McKinsey global managing partner Dominic Barton discusses how executives serious about delivering value need to spend more time identifying their organizations’ top performers and most critical roles.

Connect with our Organization Practice