Creating Advantage at the Intersection of Business & Talent Strategy | OPEN 2019

At Greenhouse OPEN 2019, we invited our attendees to Meet the Talent Makers. Greenhouse CEO Daniel Chait started the day by defining what exactly we mean by the term talent maker. Core to the concept is the idea of someone who aligns business and talent. During “Creating Advantage at the Intersection of Business & Talent Strategy,” Greenhouse Chief Marketing Officer Carin Van Vuuren facilitated a discussion between Lola Banjo, Innovation Partner at Salesforce, Luke Flemmer, CEO at Lab49, and Raina Moskowitz, Senior Vice President of People, Strategy & Services at Etsy. Here are a few highlights from their conversation.

Aligning Business & Talent Strategy

To kick off the conversation, Carin asked the panelists how they have approached aligning their talent and business strategy. At Salesforce, all employees define their values and goals on an annual basis. This helps ensure that everyone is aligned with the company’s larger vision and prepares all employees to face the challenges they’re likely to encounter throughout the year.

At Etsy, strategic thinking occurs in two tracks. There’s the long-term planning that looks at the next several years as well as the annual planning that looks at the next 12 months on a more granular level. Defining the business needs for both the short and long term helps the company plan out its talent needs in a similar manner. And since Raina’s role straddles People, Strategy, and Services, it’s easy for her to ensure that her team is a part of these conversations.

Luke brought up the importance of defining employer value proposition. Rather than thinking of your employees and customers as separate entities, consider how you can sell your brand and company to employees. Thinking in terms of value creation for your customer helps you determine what kind of people and environment you need to accomplish that.

Specific Strategies & Tactics for Building Alignment

Alignment is not a permanent state – it requires a continuous process of iteration and refinement. What are some tactics that have helped our panelists with this process?

Lola recommends developing a deep understanding of what your organization is really about and what you stand for. At Salesforce, for example, the company is proud to operate on a one-to-one model which means that 1% of profits, 1% of equity, and 1% of time are dedicated to giving back to the community. On an individual level, this means that each employee has 56 hours of volunteer time off (VTO). Programs like this promote company alignment around core values.

Being data-driven is key to getting business leaders’ attention, says Raina. And it’s not just about reviewing data yourself – set a regular cadence where you share your findings with others. Not only does this prove that you’re dedicated to driving business results, but it sends the message throughout the organization that your team can be a trusted resource on this topic.

From the perspective of a CEO, Luke explains that executives are trained to respond to problems. This means that coming to your executive with a great idea won’t be as effective of a technique as coming to them with a problem. Think about ways to present problems, back them up with data, and suggest actionable steps if you’d really like to get your executives’ attention and their buy-in.

Remember that the results won’t be immediate – aligning business and talent is an ongoing and never-ending process. But trying out some of the strategies and tactics we’ve shared here will help make alignment achievable.

Missed Greenhouse OPEN this year? Don’t forget to register for the livestream to get access to our featured keynote sessions with Jennifer Hyman, CEO of Rent the Runway, and Katie Burke, Chief People Officer at HubSpot.



Melissa Suzuno

Melissa Suzuno is a freelance writer and former Content Marketing Manager at Greenhouse. Melissa previously built out the content marketing programs at Parklet (an onboarding and employee experience solution) and AfterCollege (a job search resource for recent grads), so she's made it a bit of a habit to help people get excited about and invested in their work. Find Melissa on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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