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Matching the right talent to the right roles

By taking a methodical, visual and data-supported approach to making human capital decisions at scale, the benefits abound for large organizations.
Matching the right talent to the right roles
Bill Schaninger

Designs and manages large-scale organizational transformations, strengthening business performance through enhanced culture, values, leadership, and talent systems.

A healthcare organization going through a massive transformation had to assess and consider more than 2,000 high-potential employees for more than 100 critical positions. By identifying the 45 most critical value-adding roles and defining markers for success supported by people analytics, it was able to build a unique competency model tailored toward its values.

For large enterprises that must match many employees to new roles, properly realigning talent to available and high-value positions proves especially daunting and game-changing. The first step requires gaining strategic clarity on the value agenda.

To compete in today’s competitive, disruptive environment and drive business value requires focusing on talent to ensure that the right employee is matched to the right role that will ultimately create the most value.

While this talent alignment is challenging, when it’s done right, rapidly and at scale by a large organization, the outcome can prove to be a significant performance differentiator. These organizations tend to outperform competitors 2-to-1, based on our research.

Taking a more organized approach to talent matching as part of a major digital transformation triggers several advantages:

Time: Faced with hundreds – and often thousands – of employees and roles, a more organized approach saves time when the information is at your fingertips.

Access: Collecting the data and datapoints for each position, as well as the organization’s leaders, digitally is far easier to peruse vs. poring over binders.

Effectiveness: Tactically, keeping track of the myriad choices you make during a digital transformation is difficult. Having a visual means for keeping track of options vs. choices makes clear the impact being made.

Applying this approach ensures that this process, which must occur no matter what, happens in the most effective way.

Accounting for unconscious bias

Whether a company is entering a new market, identifying ways to cut costs or becoming nimbler, HR business partners (HRBPs) must find more effective ways to deploy talent. When proper and efficient talent-matching practices are missing, filling roles rapidly can become a popularity contest. Positions are filled based on who knows who – which can lead to unconscious bias – rather than on identifying the best candidate.

Redeploying talent in a value-focused manner is essential. It must consider knowledge, skills, intrinsic traits and experiences to match the candidates best for each role. We recommend taking these steps:

Understand your value agenda. Begin by aligning with your organization’s ambition and deconstructing what will drive value across departments.

Identify the most important roles. Without an understanding of the most critical roles based on the value agenda and what matters most in each, it becomes virtually impossible to make informed, strategic decisions. Determine what experiences, skills and traits are needed and back it up with data about your talent pool.

When choosing the best candidate for any given critical role, you will need to understand what is required to succeed in that role.

Get the right talent in the right roles. Assess fit and match talent that reflects each role’s markers for success. It’s important to identify your top talent and ensure this stems directly out of the performance management process, using as much data as possible to understand the fit of the employee.

Solutions such as McKinsey & Company’s Talent Match can prove especially useful for aggregating data and supporting recommendations. The tool helped one client develop a companywide database of high potentials – identifying future leaders, enabling talent mobility and highlighting top candidates for each job.

By taking a methodical, visual and data-supported approach to making human capital decisions at scale, the benefits abound for large organizations. This approach saves time and simplifies the process. It also can help organizations combat unconscious bias, enabling leaders to keep track of the available options versus the actual choices that were made.

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