“What on earth is Talent Alignment?”

If I had a dollar for every time I heard that question, it honestly wouldn’t matter because it’s an answer I love giving.

Talent Alignment is a goal-based, totally transparent series of processes that will change every facet of how you recruit, onboard, manage and lead your employees.

Think of talent alignment as a playbook for your entire organization that everyone can see in real-time. In many organizations today, that playbook is hidden or non-existent and seeing results of your entire organization in real-time.

Right now, many organizations have a talent cycle but it’s a vicious one. Vicious is disconnected, fractured and frustrating to top talent – in short, it’s a talent management, communication and culture problem all rolled into one. Here are the ways you can take your talent cycle from vicious to virtuous:

Step 1: Recruit Smarter

Knowing you need to hire and knowing why you need to hire are two separate things. Using talent alignment within your company makes it easy to see which holes need to be filled. All of the sudden, your job requirements are more focused and specific, your onboarding process is streamlined and your employees aren’t threatened by the new addition, because they know exactly what she is working on…and towards. It also gives HR and recruiting a seat at the table in terms of the strategic mission and vision for the company.

Step 2: Communicate Better

The key is to link your teams’ everyday efforts to overall goals, and to make it easy for managers and employees to visualize how work flows up to larger company strategies. By aligning all the middlemen you can ensure your team gets the right message every time. This approach empowers employees because they know precisely how their daily tasks fit into the larger picture.

Step 3: Build Trust

Companies that show what the goals are and individual accountability to reaching them can more easily pick out all-start employees, connect their employees in ways never possible before and create an open and trusting environment. Gossip, backbiting and the glass ceiling aren’t issues when goals and achievements are out in the open. Performance and engagement become natural by-products when alignment and transparency are “baked in”.

Step 4: Get Rid Of Pointless Tasks

A recent survey of more than 2,000 workers showed a whopping 98 percent think annual performance reviews are unnecessary. About a quarter of that group were HR professionals. This is waste of time and money. Today’s workforce works faster, smarter and in more places than the workforce that implemented annual reviews. Stop this senseless practice and use the budget and time for transparent reviewing. A continuous feedback loop between colleagues, leadership, and employees allows your HIPOs to get even better and your less productive staff matriculate or “self-select”. Research suggests that transparent review processes and a continuous feedback loop between managers and employees may even make adequate performers up their game.

Step 5:  Nurturing, Training And Growth

Performance. Each team member should know their results compared to expectations. In “The 3 Signs of a Miserable Job,” Patrick Lencioni says that we engage in our work when we can measure it.

Behavior. Most leaders don’t subscribe to a Machiavellian approach to performance. We know that the means are often more important than the ends. We need to sustain performance, our health and our relationships.

Engagement. Emotional connection to the organization and to the team drives commitment, quality and culture. Team members who hide from tracking objectives are either scared or apathetic. Either reveals development opportunities and succession potential.

Alignment. Organizations need empowered and independent thinkers…within the framework of the organization’s goals. Structure brings freedom and innovation. In crew, each rower does his part by following the cadence of those ahead and modeling for those behind in the boat.

Our workforce needs empowered and independent thinkers…within the framework of the organization’s goals. Structure brings freedom and innovation. Just like memorizing a playbook before the season, a virtuous talent cycle based on alignment allows us to improvise, commitment to organizational goals allows us to be entrepreneurial, reallocating resources, budget and shifting goals whenever and wherever they are needed, coming full circle.

(About the Author: Andre Lavoie is the CEO of Clear Company, the first talent alignment platform that bridges the gap between talent management and business strategy by contextualizing employees’ work around a company’s vision and goals. You can connect with him and the Clear Company team on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

ClearCompany is the first Talent Alignment Platform that bridges the gap between talent management and business strategy by contextualizing employees’ work around a company’s vision and goals. Our patent-pending portfolio technology empowers organizations to maximize the strategic contribution of hiring, learning and performance initiatives by realizing the potential of their most valuable asset: their people.)

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photo credit: wbeem via photopin cc

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