Bersin by Deloitte: Clear Talent Strategy Linked to Better Business Outcomes

Creating a clear structure for setting talent strategy and engaging leaders are critical to talent strategy success

Apr 29, 2015, 13:34 ET from Bersin by Deloitte

MIAMI, April 29, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Organizations with a clear talent strategy are more likely to perform well on business outcomes, including innovation, efficiency and business agility, according to new research from Bersin by Deloitte. Summarized in a WhatWorks® Brief, the research findings appear in Building Competitive Advantage with Talent-Part 1: An Introduction to Talent Strategy. The report, is the first in a four-part series slated for publication this year that explores current trends and challenges in understanding, creating and leveraging a talent strategy.

Developing a talent strategy – defined as interlocking decisions related to talent that enable an organization to most effectively execute its business strategy – remains a challenge for many organizations. Based on a survey of 454 Global 2000 organizations, the research found that just 12 percent of organizations have a clear talent strategy, with advanced and integrated talent processes in place. However, organizations that create a clear structure for setting talent strategy and engage leaders in the process are best positioned to develop a clear and business-aligned talent strategy. The new research was announced today at Bersin by Deloitte's IMPACT 2015: Bold HR, the industry's premier research-based executive conference for HR, learning and talent leaders and their teams, which takes place through May 1 at the Trump National Doral in Miami, Florida.

"On our survey, of those organizations that rate themselves at the highest level of effectiveness on business outcomes, at least half have an established talent strategy with some or many advanced processes in place," said Stacia Sherman Garr, vice president, talent and HR research, Bersin by Deloitte, Deloitte Consulting LLP. "Moreover, those organizations with a talent strategy are more than four times as likely to be in the top quartile of business outcomes. These business outcomes include innovation, improving processes to maximize business efficiency, and anticipating and responding to business changes efficiently and effectively."

Garr further noted that there are additional reasons that a talent strategy matters.

"First, broadly speaking, organizations lack the staying power they once had and they need a way to fight back," she said. "Consider this: The average lifespan of a company listed in the S&P index has declined to just 15 years from 67 years in the 1920s."[i]

Garr said that there are likely many factors contributing to this decline in organizational longevity, but one that cannot be discounted is that innovations are driving disruptions in markets and business models at a historically high rate.

"To compete," Garr said, "many organizations will need to broaden their focus to more effectively leveraging people – not just capital structures and investments – to drive competitive advantage.  Organizations should have a talent strategy to determine how best to do this." 

In addition, a talent strategy can help an organization:

  • Clarify or reinforce the type of culture necessary to achieve strategic business goals;
  • Identify how an organization should approach talent acquisition; and
  • Determine how an organization should approach the talent side of a merger or acquisition.

Perhaps most importantly, Garr said, "the talent strategy should provide leaders with guidance as to the critical investments – as well as some of the tactical decisions – that should be made."

To learn more, register to join Stacia Sherman Garr for her online webinar, "Talent Strategy: Building Competitive Advantage with Talent," June 18, 2 p.m. ET/ 19:00 BST.

Those interested in learning more about Bersin by Deloitte or its WhatWorks® membership may email or call +1 510 251 4400.

About Bersin by Deloitte

Bersin by Deloitte delivers research-based people strategies designed to help leaders and their organizations in their efforts to deliver exceptional business performance. Our WhatWorks® membership gives Fortune 1000 and Global 2000 HR professionals the information and tools they need to design and implement leading practice solutions, benchmark against others, develop their staff, and select and implement systems. A piece of Bersin by Deloitte research is downloaded on average approximately every minute during the business day. More than 5,000 organizations worldwide use our research and consulting to guide their HR, talent and learning strategies. For more information, please visit or

As used in this document, "Deloitte" means Deloitte Consulting LLP, a subsidiary of Deloitte LLP. Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. Certain services may not be available to attest clients under the rules and regulations of public accounting.

[i] Source:  Professor Richard Foster from Yale University.

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