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Talent Chief Reveals 3 Top Talent Strategy Priorities



When it comes to managing and optimizing your workforce, key talent strategy focus areas for HR include employee retention, employee experience and leader effectiveness.

ADP Chief Talent Officer Jay Caldwell said these as his top three talent strategy priorities, which he discussed in an interview.

Employee retention remains a challenge for HR due to the turnover churn and pivoting with constant change over the last few years, which have pushed many employees to the brink of burnout. “Organizations really need to pay attention to where there’s [turnover] risk, and [be] potentially predictive around where there’s going to be risk in the organization,” Caldwell said.

Closely related to retention is your company’s employee experience. “We’re all competing for talent. So having a great experience for your employees day in and day out will help you win in the marketplace,” he said.

Leader effectiveness is a talent strategy priority, Caldwell said, because, “you remember the old saying [that] people don’t leave companies, they leave their managers. … In many ways, companies that focus on [employee] experience and leader effectiveness can impact retention.”

Data and Talent Strategy

Caldwell emphasized that strategies for improving employee retention and experience should be data-driven.

He recommended staying informed about the trends in your industry, as well as following organization such as the ADP Research Institute, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Gartner and The Conference Board to stay informed about the labor market.

For collecting data on employee sentiment, Caldwell favors surveys. HIs preferred method is to ask one or two simple questions at key moments, rather than sending out lengthy annual surveys.

He noted that modern, AI-powered analytics tools can help HR pros quickly process important qualitative data, particularly survey comments.

And don’t underestimate the insights that come from face-to-face conversations with employees, he said.

A valuable data source for assessing employee experience is the transactional measurements related to your Employee Net Promoter Score. “For example, how’s the candidate experience going with the talent acquisition team? What’s onboarding looking like 45 days after somebody’s in their role? … How does the experience look like in key life moments, like when [employees] have to go on a leave of absence, or [they’re] having a baby and [they] have to change [their] benefits? How easy are these experiences? Any time where the transactions are at a high-stakes moment, I think it’s really important to understand how [the HR organization is] supporting those moments,” Caldwell said.

Leadership Effectiveness and Talent Strategy

“One of the best ways to measure leader effectiveness for companies is to measure the extent to which there’s followership. … Being able to measure how often leaders connect with their people, and the quality of those connections in terms of frequent conversations, or being able to measure … what does engagement look like on a team by team … basis, not just at the overall company level … and then focusing on outcomes,” he said, providing an actionable example of a department manager who’s had 15% voluntary turnover three years in a row.

Caldwell’s primary advice for HR leaders aiming to refine their talent strategy: Keep it simple and use your data to pinpoint the top one or two areas in your organization that require immediate attention.

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