Getting the People Strategy Right

Business leaders are charged with the responsibility to make sure their companies are placing talent into the optimal position to produce results and accomplish business goals. But all too often, when executives hear “people strategy,” they pass it off to human resources without thinking twice. When it comes to designing and optimizing an organization’s most important (and most costly) business asset—it’s people—passing the buck equates to passing up the biggest opportunity to create a successful organization.

Create World-Class Teams

Talent optimization is a four-part discipline detailing the requirements for aligning your business strategy and your people strategy so you can achieve your desired business results. At its core are the collection, analysis, and application of people data.


Breaking Down Talent Optimization

  1. Diagnose: This is where you’ll measure critical people data, analyze that data in the context of your business, and prescribe remedies as needed.
  2. Design: This is where you’ll create and continuously evolve your people strategy.
  3. Hire: This is where you’ll use talent optimization insights based on people data to hire top talent and build cohesive teams.
  4. Inspire: This is where you’ll use data to drive critical employee-oriented activities such as career pathing, maintaining the organizational culture, and managing people and teams.



Consider how a medical doctor uses reliable lab results to measure a person’s overall health, evaluates the data in the context of any problems, and acts to correct any issues. A talent optimizer employs a similar methodology. Best practice for a business is to identify the potential issues proactively by diagnosing preventatively; this is what smart organizations do. But there will always be gaps between what you think will happen and what happens. This is why companies often diagnose in response to problems (e.g., “not meeting sales goals” or “high turnover.”)

Diagnose is a method for pinpointing the root cause of gaps—your underlying people problems—and making strategic changes or changes to day-to-day execution. Businesses that collect and analyze their people data and then make necessary adjustments proactively will enjoy a more productive and engaged workforce; instead of letting problems build up and fester, addressing them quickly shows employees they care.

three activities compose the diagnose aptitude and repeat in a loop

  • Measure what matters.
  • Analyze the evidence.
  • Prescribe improvement actions.

Many companies cobble together employees without considering team dynamics, and they appoint leaders who might be excellent individual contributors but who lack the self-awareness and/or motivation needed to inspire employees effectively. When teams and leaders are designed ad hoc like this, results suffer. But when the design of the organization, its leadership, its team dynamics, and its culture are approached intentionally and strategically—supported by people data—companies have a much better chance of achieving their desired business objectives.

four activities compose the design aptitude

  • Select your organization’s structure.
  • Evaluate your leadership team fit.
  • Understand senior team dynamics.
  • Establish your culture.

Hiring is a critical activity in any organization regardless of its size, industry, or state of maturity. The ability to hire well sets the stage for future organizational success. Putting the right person in the proper role also contributes to others’ confidence in the organization’s overall effectiveness; top performers prefer to work with other top performers. By contrast, a mis-hire can have devastating consequences not just on the organization’s business results but also on the engagement and welfare of other employees.

four activities compose the hire aptitude

  • Define and communicate job requirements.
  • Equip your leaders to land top talent.
  • Predict new team dynamics.
  • Determine your candidates’ cultural fit.

In most organizations, employees lack the necessary people data insights to work together at their best. Without that data, employees don’t have critical awareness regarding their workplace behaviors. This means they inadvertently create communication problems, conflict, and even organizational toxicity. In a Talent Optimization approach, employees receive the data and insights they need to manage themselves—and their relationships with others in the organization.

four activities compose the inspire aptitude

  • Create new jobs and career paths.
  • Develop your leaders.
  • Create high performing teams.
  • Reinforce your culture.