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In a rapidly undulating talent landscape, HR is getting increasingly called out for its preoccupation with process and someone else’s best practice.

The need instead is for pragmatic and simple yet highly commercial solutions which can be debated and sponsored at the very top.

The only effective way to align the people agenda with an organisation’s commercial strategy is to get business leaders to consider the internal and external talent context of business decisions in real time. This requires a shift in our strategy models and in HR’s orientation.

“My research suggests that many companies don’t actually have a real people strategy,” says Gyan Nagpal, the former head of talent in APAC for Deutsche Bank and now a talent strategy coach. “What they have instead is a list of initiatives which react to a specific issue or try and solve a problem, often when it’s too late anyway.”

“We find that in large organisations operating globally, major commercial decisions are made impacting distant global theatres with little thought about how the talent can be found to implement them.”

Nagpal, cites the rush into the burgeoning markets of China as a classic example of this. “Everyone wants a piece of the Chinese success story, but few have worked out where the managerial talent is going to come from to deliver it. There are simply not enough indigenous professionals with the expected skills and experience to round. ”

“Corporate boards are increasingly waking up to the need to discuss this early in the planning process and are looking to HR; both for greater involvement and depth of insight” says Nagpal. “to be successful at the partnership table, now more than ever, HR needs to present its case in a more structured and well-researched way.”