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. 

Featured Insights


Building workforce skills at scale to thrive during—and after—the COVID-19 crisis

– A new survey shows that skill building is becoming common practice, social and emotional skills are in demand, and there’s a recipe for successful skill transformations.

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.

‘Back to human’: Why HR leaders want to focus on people again

– Chief human-resource officers in Europe say a shift to employee-centric policies is long overdue. The pandemic is a big factor in their thinking, but process fatigue has been building for some time.
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.

Featured podcast series

McKinsey Talks Talent

McKinsey Organization'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.


LGBTQ+ inclusion in the workplace

– How to take action to support LGBTQ+ employees—not just during Pride Month, but year-round.

Culture in the hybrid workplace

– Hybrid work is happening. Your culture will need to catch up—fast.

Grabbing hold of the new future of work

– The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped existing workforce trends and catalyzed new ones. Here’s the latest on what’s next—and what to do about it.

The elusive inclusive workplace

– In the wake of the pandemic, you’ve committed to fast action on diversity. The first step is a new, more inclusive lens on talent management—straight through the life cycle.

The vanishing middle manager

– Flatter. Faster. Leaner. The COVID-19 crisis has once again trained a spotlight on the value of middle management. What happens after the pandemic ends?

Grief, loss, burnout: Talking about complex feelings at work

– Leaders have always navigated emotional dynamics in the workplace—but not at the scale and intensity unleashed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s how to map this shifting terrain.

Today’s skills, tomorrow’s jobs: How will your team fare in the future of work?

– Automation will leave few roles untouched—and not everyone will be reskilled or redeployed successfully. Here’s what leaders can do now to give their talent, and their organizations, the best opportunity to thrive in an uncertain future.

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.

More McKinsey podcasts on talent


The search for purpose at work

– Purpose is personal, but companies play a critical role in how we express it.
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.

Connect with our People & Organizational Performance Practice