The talent-to-value approach: aligning talent with business value

Author Michael Illert
June 11, 2024

As organizations navigate an increasingly complex and competitive landscape, getting the right talent in the most critical roles has never been more important. Traditional approaches to talent management often fall short, focusing too much on hierarchy and not enough on the roles that truly drive value. That’s where the talent-to-value approach comes in.

Pioneered by McKinsey, the talent-to-value framework flips the script. Instead of starting with the org chart, it begins with a clear understanding of how the organization creates value – both now and in the future.

Where are your most valuable roles?

Leaders must take a hard look at their business and growth strategy to pinpoint the 5% of roles that deliver 95% of the value.

These critical roles tend to fall into three categories:

  1. Value creators that directly generate revenue or profitability
  2. Value enablers in key support functions that facilitate value creation
  3. Value protectors that mitigate major risks to value

Interestingly, McKinsey found that only 30% of these pivotal roles are in the top two layers of the organization. The other 60-70% are often two or three levels down, in counterintuitive places.

How do you fill them with the best people?

Once these value-driving roles are identified, the hard work begins: defining the skills, experience and capabilities needed for success in each one. Talent management then becomes laser-focused on getting the right people in these critical seats, whether by developing internal talent, hiring externally or redeploying people from other parts of the business.

The implications for recruitment are profound. Rather than backfilling open positions, hiring must be closely tied to the value agenda and prioritized accordingly. Analytics can help spot the biggest gaps between the talent you have and the talent you need. Compelling employee value propositions can be crafted to attract people with the right skills.

But the work doesn’t stop there. Performance in these critical roles must be managed actively and continuously, not just once a year. As strategies shift, so too will the roles that matter most. Talent-to-value is a dynamic, agile process that requires ongoing attention from the CEO and executive team.

Why is talent-to-value important?

Getting talent-to-value right is hard work. But for organizations bold enough to treat human capital with the same rigor as financial capital, the rewards are substantial. By systematically matching the right talent to the roles that drive value, these companies are seeing outsized returns – and a powerful competitive advantage.

If you’d like to hear more about the talent-to-value model or recruitment within HR, please get in touch using the form below.

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