In my discussions with senior leaders, I hear so many times, “We need engaged employees.”

True. Talent and talent engagement are central to building a high performance culture. But the reality is that engagement is an effect, not a cause. Talented employees gravitate towards companies known to have strong and healthy cultures. Employees are loyal to culture, not strategy.

Building a strong and healthy culture starts with a compelling vision and a clear strategic intent which are then supported by meaningful milestones. When these factors combine, talented individuals identify with them. Recruiting talent that connects with the culture and strategic intent may be the most critical step in maintaining healthy culture.

What does this mean for your organization’s talent management?

  • Sort before you hire. Determine which potential employees’ value systems align with the company’s value system. Is there a motivational fit between the employee (or potential employee) and the culture of the organization?
  • Integrate talent management. HR? PM? OD? HCM? Compartmentalizing your relationship with employees is counterproductive. To be effective talent management cannot be a loosely-connected series of interactions with different departments over time. It must be an integrated process aligned with the systemic nature of corporate culture.
  • Build trust. Employee engagement presupposes commitment. Commitment presupposes trust. When employees trust, they become actively involved in the culture and their discretionary performance contributes to organizational performance.

A distinctive culture differentiates the truly great companies from the merely good ones. Recognizing, understanding, and aligning the interdependencies between culture and talent processes are of paramount importance in creating and sustaining a high performing company.

To learn more about how talent management aligns with organizational culture to impact performance, read my latest TRANSFORM article, “Connecting Organizational Culture with the Talent Management Lifecycle.”

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