We hear leaders saying all the time that they value their employees — but those words aren’t always backed up by behavior. Dominic Barton of McKinsey Consulting and Dennis Carey of Korn Ferry authored Talent Wins: The New Playbook for Putting People First that identifies four key behaviors leaders need to take to put their talent first.

Have your CHRO report to the CEO

Too many organizations soften or lose entirely the strategic impact that a powerful HR function can have by not having a “C” level leader and worse, not having that leader report up to the CEO. In Talent Wins, they suggest a G-3 of the CEO, CFO and CHRO be the guiding force for the organization.

By placing HR close to the strategic planning of the company, organizations are better able to ensure the right skills are being fostered to meet tomorrow’s challenges and that a strong leadership pipeline is being developed.

Make talent a strategic priority

The entire culture of the organization needs to be talent first. That includes the CEO helping the board to prioritize employee development and invest in fostering an overall healthy corporate culture.

Barton and Carey recommend even changing the name of the Compensation Committee to be Rewards and Recognition or even the People Committee to effectively broaden the scope.

Know your top talent — and keep developing them

Identifying your top talent is critical, but it doesn’t stop there. Your top talent doesn’t only want recognition of their impact in the form of financial compensation; these are ambitious people who are also are looking for developmental assignments that support their career goals. Barton and Carey’s research shows that just 2% of your workforce can be truly categorized as “top talent” — and it’s critical to find them in all levels of the organization. Technology and people insights are key to helping to both identify these high impact team members and to ensure they are fully engaged and being actively developed.

Get agile and stay there

Like Deming famously said, “change isn’t necessary because survival isn’t mandatory.”

In today’s climate, organizations need to be able to move more and more quickly in order to effectively compete and grow in every sector. This agility needs to transcend every group and function — and HR must provide the critical workforce insights necessary for the business to easily spin up new cross-functional teams to address its most pressing priorities.

Additionally, the organization needs practices that support the quick communication and re-alignment of every person’s goals to new or refined priorities.

Continuous performance management supports talent first leadership

A continuous performance management ® practice is critical to supporting a talent first approach. Technology can be extremely useful in helping ensure that your employees’ goals are being set and met and that they are aligned with the business’ priorities.

If properly implemented, a continuous performance management ® platform can empower employees to engage more proactively and effectively with their managers, while giving HR a clear view of the outcomes of these conversations and any additional actions needed to support meeting these goals.

Now you’re ready to go to your CEO with a plan to unlock the true potential of your business. Through using technology to prompt managers to have the critical conversations around goals, coaching and developing employees and ensuring HR has the visibility to ensure practices are consistent across the organization, you’ll be instrumental in helping increase employee motivation and drive growth for your business.

And when you’re ready to start moving your organization to continuous performance management, we’re here to help you every step of the way. To learn more about deploying a continuous performance management ® solution, check out our ebook  The 5 Secrets to Rolling Out Continuous Performance Management™ Software.