Creating Talent Strategy

A global professional services company requested support in creating a global talent management strategy based on their long-term business goals.

Creating Talent Strategy

Business Need

The organisation commissioned peoplewise to help it rethink its approach to talent management, in order to sustain its market leadership position. The organisation recognised that in order to achieve their ambitious strategic objectives, it needed to leverage the potential within its existing talent population. It also recognised that the lack of bench strength and succession talent was a significant risk to its ability to flex, adapt and grow in a dynamic, global market.

What We Did

Stage 1: Analysis

The process began with extensive data collection and scoping of the key issues. Existing organisational data provided some insights. peoplewise built on these by conducting in-depth interviews with senior stakeholders, in order to clearly define talent, high potential, critical capabilities and the different talent pools.  The organisation's competency framework was used to define and behaviourally anchor these key talent concepts. Two key issues were identified:

  • a perceived lack of facilitated opportunities for career development, resulting in high potential employees either plateauing in their current position, or leaving to competitor organisations
  • an identified global capabilities gap in strategic thinking and analytical rigour, which was impacting the organisation's strategic growth

Stage 2: Development of High Potential

The second stage was the design of several development programmes to help employees at different levels of the organisation to navigate the step up to their next role. peoplewise designed two highly intensive development centre programmes and delivered them in key hubs across globe. One programme targeted the capabilities underpinning an identified business critical role while the second targeted a broader set of business critical capabilities. The focus of both centres was on moving high potential participants from good to great, using a variety of stretching exercises, psychometrics, 360 appraisals, and individual two-hour deep dive feedback interviews with one of our expert consultants. Participants created development plans that were followed up by the organisation's talent management team, thus creating a development relationship between the organisation and its high potential employees that ensured sustainable leveraging of this talent.

Stage 3: Addressing Global Skills Gaps

In order to address the capabilities gap that had been identified and was known to be adversely affecting the organisation's ability to grow, a set of Gold Standard training programmes was developed. The first programme to be introduced was strategic thinking.  It provided participants with the latest methodologies in strategic thinking along with structured tools and techniques to facilitate and encourage strategic thinking in themselves and their team. Based on the outstanding results of this programme, a second was designed in the same format, but this time focusing on client engagement - as a professional services company, winning the hearts and minds of clients and establishing oneself as the trusted advisor was key to ensuring continued business development.

Stage 4: Selection Practices

The final stage was the introduction of criteria into the selection process for senior level leaders which would directly impact the company's talent pool in the medium term. As strategic thinking had been identified as a critical capability for the company, peoplewise introduced an analytical rigour measure that effectively discriminated between the top 12.5% of performers.  We set clear criteria for progression through to the subsequent selection gates of senior level leadership positions based on this metric. Doing this gave the organisation confidence in their selection process and ensured that only candidates with requisite capabilities progressed to senior level positions.


Creating and implementing the talent management strategy resulted in the following positive organisational outcomes:

  • 50% reduction in turnover among the target talent pool
  • 60% increase in strategic thinking capabilities within 18 months
  • 50% higher rate of promotions among those who participated in a development programme, compared with others in the same grading bracket, 12 and 24 months after programme participation
  • Increased motivation, accelerated development and company loyalty for sustainable future growth
  • Greater opportunities for networking and development across accounts, geographies, and business lines
  • Increased cross-selling opportunities being generated and realised
  • This global initiative is ongoing - while each stage originated in the EMEA region, they have since been rolled out to three global hubs, and continue to expand worldwide