05/15/09 
Global talent innovation: Strategies for breakthrough performance
DeAnne Aguirre, Sylvia Ann Hewlett, Laird Post
Managing talent well creates value for companies — that’s the bottom line. To remain competitive, particularly in difficult times, they must not only cut costs; they must also seize future advantage by revamping their talent management strategies and developing more innovative value propositions, in line with the changing demographics of a more mobile, diverse, and global workforce. This perspective shows how to maximize the impact on business results by applying a comprehensive approach with four components: differentiated capabilities, performance acceleration, leadership development, and a talent culture.

Executive summary

Managing talent well creates value for companies — that’s the bottom line. The global recession has compelled CEOs to move beyond “business as usual,” yet talent management paradigms remain trapped in the 20th century. Most leaders today recognize that competitive advantage in the knowledge economy is determined and driven by human capital. People are the only asset that innovates, and innovation is the only path to sustained breakthrough performance. So, how do companies rev up their innovation engine?

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A strategic approach to talent management

Corporate leaders have traditionally relinquished talent strategy to market forces or left it to their human resources departments to oversee. But any company that aspires to compete on the global stage must implement a strategic approach to talent management that is built on a deeper understanding of the complexity and diversity of today’s global talent pool and marketplace. Only by embracing this reality will they unlock a huge reserve of latent productivity in their workforces and dramatically improve their organization’s ability to succeed.

The current downturn has accentuated the need for talent innovation while simultaneously prompting many companies to cut back on their investment in people. In addition to implementing large-scale layoffs and other immediate cost reduction efforts, companies are questioning everything they have used in the past to attract high-quality people, including incentive structures and career development programs. To be sure, cost cutting is critical, but a recession also provides companies with the opportunity to build a much more effective long-term strategy that can attract highly skilled potential employees, retain the best people on the current payroll, and address the complexities of managing a workforce that is increasingly multigenerational, multicultural, and dispersed across the globe.

This report summarizes the sweeping changes — demographic, cultural, and economic — that are transforming the global labor market and upsetting the assumptions underlying prevailing talent models. It also introduces four fundamental building blocks of talent innovation:

  • Differentiated capabilities
  • Performance acceleration
  • Leadership development
  • Talent culture

These four elements represent the core components of Strategy&’s Global Talent Innovation™platform. With this platform, a CEO can build a distinct talent model that delivers sustainable competitive advantage and breakthrough performance.

 

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