Most CEOs today sight talent management as one of their top concerns.

Starting from finding the right skills to developing critical skills to retaining best employees, there are a range of concerns for business leaders when it comes to managing talent.

Globalisation and technological evolution has further intensified the war for talent, i.e., making it more difficult to recruit and retain the best employees. Furthermore, economic instability has put more pressure on business leaders to optimise talent — getting the most value for every dollar spent.

The concerns of over talent management are justified as businesses depend on their best employees to deliver superior results. In many knowledge-based organisations, employee costs account for as much as 70 per cent of the total operating costs and directly impact the bottom-line.

Talent management faces challenges across the globe and there is one function which has the prime responsibility of managing talent — HR. Although all focus is on HR people to deliver superior results in a challenging business environment, in many cases the plight of HR professionals is pitiable.

HR in many organisations currently plays a reactive role of firefighting rather than a strategic and proactive one that businesses seek. HR professionals are just not making it fast enough to the boardrooms with solid advice to help business leaders with talent issues. Given the current global talent mobility and economic instability, HR professionals can hold a much more dignified and critical position.

The current HR focus on operational and transactional tasks needs a shift towards more strategic and transformational activities. HR professionals must find ways to increase operational efficiency by using more automation or outsourcing non-core activities so the focus can be shifted towards more strategic activities.

HR must understand and contribute towards the business value chain as a key partner. A strategic involvement requires HR to build and demonstrate understanding of critical business drivers.

This means HR must understand what sort of customer experience and financial and operational performance is desired by the organisation.

If HR can build an understanding of these key drivers it can help the business in acquiring and building employee competencies vital to delivering the desired customer experience and financial and operational success to the organisation.

Aligning HR activities to these key business drivers can certainly help HR in creating a visible business impact. Furthermore, aligning the talent pools to the key business drivers should be followed up by building the internal HR competencies and supplemented by implementing HR initiatives which enhance the employee experience and commitment towards business goals.

If you are an HR professional, these are exciting times to be in the profession. So go out, know your business, know your customers, know the balance sheet, know your people and create value for your business. Finally, measure the impact.

The writer is Managing Consultant at Tuscan.