COVID 19 has absorbed vast amounts of our time, energy, and worry during the past month. Everyone is struggling with the implications of lockdowns and personal concerns about health and well-being. My inbox is full of helpful advice. Everyone who has my name on a mailing list seems to be sending suggestions about how to cope during the pandemic. I am even getting advice from the company that sealed my asphalt driveway last year!

As surprised as I am about the level of information being distributed on COVID 19, I am equally surprised at how little of it responds to the need companies now have for information about talent optimization. Talent optimization is a four-part discipline that details what is required for aligning your business strategy with your talent strategy so you can achieve your desired business results.  A strong human resources strategy supported by precise data helps companies hire the best employees and get their best work. Talent optimization is a process that includes four steps.

  1. Diagnose: Measure your people data, analyze that data, and prescribe remedies as needed.
  2. Design: Create and evolve your people strategy.
  3. Hire: Use people data insights to hire top talent and build high-performing teams.
  4. Inspire: Use people data to drive important employee-oriented activities.

At the core of talent optimization is collecting, analyzing, and applying people data. It asks, “What capacities are required for business success and how do we gather and deploy our employee talent to achieve our strategic goals?”

The challenge today is that the demands of the “new normal” require a fresh assessment of people strategy and the fit between your existing staff and the evolving requirements of the environment. Staff who were strong performers last year may not be ready or able to be as helpful today. For example, as more employees work from home, they need the ability to structure their time and accurately complete work without close oversight than when everyone was in the same office. The truth is, not every staff member is ready to rise to the demands of the current situation.

As busy as we all are responding to the crisis of the moment, we should make time to step back and assess our existing talent strategy. Changes are required today to survive the current challenges and, as we emerge from the immediate crisis, companies will need staff who are able to thrive in the new environment. Is your company prepared?  I suggest that there are three tasks that every company should be working on to get ready.

  1. Assess your talent strategy: The starting place is an assessment of your strategy for finding and coaching great talent in your organization. Some companies embrace precise execution and tight procedures as their path to success. Some companies emphasize speed and innovation.  And there are companies that rely on close and warm personal connections. These varied strategies require different approaches to developing talent. Take time to review your business strategy, make sure that it is still working as the environment changes, and assess your talent strategy and its ability to help your reach your business goals.
  2. Develop an accurate and analytical talent database: Most businesses do not have a precise understanding of the behavioral drives that make staff successful in each company position. Consistent use of staff behavioral and cognitive assessments allows companies to match talent with the requirements of each job in the company and coach staff in a way that helps them deliver great results. Predictive Index is a leader in this kind of assessment and a great platform for building a precise talent database.
  3. Measure employee experience: Even the best plans can be improved based on experience. Using a standard survey of employee experience helps you to assess the effectiveness of your talent strategy. Employee responses will help you identify potential trouble spots, take steps to improve engagement, and fine tune your talent optimization strategy. The Predictive Index Employee Experience Survey is a powerful way to track and adjust your talent strategy.

Building a thriving business is tough work and COVID 19 makes the work even more challenging. If you wan to do well today and develop a team that can take your company to the next level tomorrow, sharpen you focus on talent optimization.