Talent Alignment: 3 Things You Need to Know to Be Successful Putting the right people in the right roles -- or vice versa -- has a huge impact on a company's bottom line.

By Andre Lavoie

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

One of the most difficult parts of being a leader is finding talented employees and putting them in the right roles. From skills and engagement to performance and strategic vision, a number of factors -- none of which remain static -- need to be considered to effectively distribute talent effectively.

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When talent alignment is done wrong, employees feel undervalued, which could be one reason nearly 70 percent of Americans say they don't feel engaged at work, according to Gallup's latest daily tracking poll. But, done right, talent alignment can have a huge impact on a company's bottom line.

CEOs of big companies, entrepreneurs looking to create a work environment that drives success and managers who want to get the most out of their teams need to consider these three things to successfully align talent and positively impact their organization's bottom line:

1. The importance of a strategic vision

From the smallest of startups to the largest of corporations, a leader's strategic vision impacts every aspect of the business. That's why leadership-development researchers Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman have found in study after study that strategic vision is one of the most important traits an effective leader displays.

When it comes to talent alignment, a leader's strategic vision helps inform human capital decisions and steer organizational and team goals. How? By distributing talent in a way that maximizes engagement and productivity.

When leaders understand how their vision impacts employees at every level of the organization, they're more likely to set realistic, attainable goals and align their talent to meet them. Instead of forcing employees to take on responsibilities they're not interested in, leaders should consider the strengths and weaknesses of their team members and how each member can help the company meet short- and long-term goals.

2. Aligning talent for the future

Proper talent alignment, including succession planning and internal talent management, is arguably one of the most important keys to organizational stability. In fact, in an analysis of leadership changes at S&P 500 companies over five years, researchers at Agenda found that, with CEOs, boards preferred to hire internally. In the first nine months of 2014, 36 of the newly hired CEOs at 46 S&P 500 companies studied came from inside the organization. That's a whopping 78 percent.

What makes long-term talent alignment planning so important? Put simply: stability. Leaders who encourage their teams to spot, acknowledge and develop internal talent create a more stable organizational hierarchy. With proper long-term talent alignment, leaders are able to determine how to develop the talent they already have and where that talent will make the biggest impact.

Related: The 7 Deadly Sins of Hiring

But, long-term talent alignment is about more than just C-suite succession planning -- it's about putting employees in a position to succeed and grow.

According to a September 2014 Millennial Branding survey that included 1,005 Generation Zers from around the world, the next generation in the workforce is more concerned with opportunities for advancement than anything else. That means it's imperative for leaders to think about the pathways to success for all employees and align their talent in ways that will help them develop in the long run.

3. Tracking performance to uncover talent gaps

One of the best ways to assess short- and long-term performance and align talent accordingly is to track career performance. In order to excel at this, leaders need a talent- and performance-management platform that makes real-time feedback possible.

When leaders can set, update and track goals in real time, it's easier to evaluate talent, shift priorities and give employees roles that will keep them engaged and productive.

Yearly employee evaluations are one thing, but 65 percent of the 500 U.S. employees surveyed in Taskworld's 2015 Annual Review Survey agreed that more consistent feedback addressing concrete strengths and weaknesses would be more productive. This is where a proactive talent alignment strategy can really make a difference.

Leaders who invest in a talent alignment platform that provides real-time, 360-degree insight and analyzes employee performance in relation to the leader's strategic vision get a better picture of where talent gaps are in the organization. This gives them the ability to reallocate or hire new talent to fill those gaps in a way that will move their companies forward.

What other factors come into play when you think about how talent alignment can benefit your business?

Related: Don't Leave Talent on the Table: A Solution to the Tech Talent Gap

Andre Lavoie

Entrepreneur; CEO and Co-Founder, ClearCompany

Andre Lavoie is the CEO of ClearCompany, the talent-management solution that helps companies identify, hire and retain more A players. You can connect with him and the ClearCompany team on Facebook LinkedIn and Twitter.


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