Explicit or implicit priorities for your organization can be found by reviewing your organization’s public financial statements, annual reports, PR announcements and internal communications. But you can gain deeper and more comprehensive business insights by also researching your competitors and your clients. Generic search engines, consumer review sites, invitation-only industry networks and subscription websites can yield important data about trends, rumors, opportunities and risks to your company, industry and most important clients.
Of course, regular, confidential executive interactions will give you the most valuable and significant information regarding strategic and tactical business imperatives. Priorities can also be identified if you follow the money (investments and resource allocation), the structure (reorganizations, hierarchies, and executive appointments), and the infrastructure (i.e., business intelligence, strategic planning, technology and delivery systems).
Organizations that have an innovative culture prioritize technology, people, and processes that create future value. They view predictive analytics, workforce optimization, and technology empowerment as business competitive advantages, not just HR initiatives. They understand that these activities will get them ahead of the curve in finding and keeping talent, maximizing service value and customer satisfaction. All organizations are focused on growth; it’s just that innovative organizations are willing to commit the resources, take the risk and are adept at balancing long-term gain with short-term results.
Data is key to helping any organization establish talent management priorities linked to growth. It’s what HR professionals need to excel in. Have a retention issue? Your reports and dashboard will show you statistics and trends; your exit interviews, manager discussions, focus groups, employee engagement survey results, benchmark studies and best practice white papers will provide additional narrative and context. These valuable data insights form the basis for most organizational HR strategies and actions. Data allows you to drive business growth priorities in a very different and proactive way. For example, understanding external as well as internal talent demand and supply helps with long-term resource, project and facilities planning and M&A accretive solutions. In the Shared Workforce economy, where talent comes from anywhere and can do almost anything, data that identifies what needs to be done, when and how is foundational for success.
Finally, it’s important to note how a sense of urgency fits into discussions about priorities. The highest urgency usually occurs because of unforeseen events, the introduction of ‘game-changers’ or crises. Urgency is neither good nor bad; it just demands action. In these situations, data – any data - can be your friend (better, faster, richer decisions) or your enemy (analysis paralysis). It is also your opportunity to demonstrate the value of HR data initiatives for business success.