Research Library Article


Redefining Talent

David Earle


What trends are perceptive CHROS in top companies most concerned about? How do their concerns differ from those of other executives? This worldwide survey of 601 individuals, part of a broader survey of 5200 C-level individuals, provides answers, plus comparisons with the concerns of C-level peers.


“Technological advances are disrupting the status quo and bringing huge turmoil in their wake. Industries are converging, and new competitors emerging, as never before. The nature of work is changing and demand for digital expertise is soaring, while other skills are becoming defunct. So how can CHROs chart a path through the turbulence and help their fellow executives understand the impact on the workforce?”





One measure of corporate health is how well every employee understands their organization's mission, values and goals. Companies where employees at every level are pulling in the same direction simply operate better than those where they don’t.

A decade ago, our research showed most HR managers prioritizing internal HR issues that didn’t optimally support those of the business as a whole. One example: a fixation on hiring efficiency — keeping costs and hiring times as low as possible — when what the organization needed to grow and prosper was better effectiveness — a more robust pipeline of top quality talent. The consequence: hoarding small dollars while compromising much bigger dollars.

Today, many more organizations realize that the three owners of human capital management — senior management (strategic planning), operations (performance management, and human resources (administration/data management) — create better business outcomes when they function as a tightly integrated team rather than as proprietors of semi-connected silos. 

This has resulted, among other things, in:

  • More widespread elevation of top human resources managers to the C-suite, where they can actively collaborate in the overall running of the business
  • CHROs becoming increasingly attentive to business issues on the horizon or even beyond it
  • Expansion of personnel databases to include inventories of institutional knowledge, skills and experience, as well as assessments of current workforces’ readiness to flow into new assignments as business needs evolve 

A decade ago, we could not have reported that CHROS were paying much attention to disruptive business convergence (see chart): events like Tesla, a car company, getting into the power business with a line of zero-carbon home batteries; or Apple, a personal technology company, becoming a force in the music business and rumored to be entering the car business. Today we can.



  • Uncharted territory
  • Talent through a marketing lens
  • Exploiting technology
  • Becoming flexible, analytical and social
  • Seizing the initiative


Research INFO
Title Redefining Talent
Author IBM
Date 2016
Pages 20
Cost Free
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