The dynamic duo: talent maturity and business impact

Global insights and findings about Brazil, China, and India

Always-on learning: Evolving L&D’s role

Posted by Ina Gantcheva and Stacia Sherman Garr on June 13, 2017.

The link between organizational talent and organizational performance is hard to dispute on a purely intuitive level: the notion that higher-quality talent leads to higher performance just makes sense. But where’s the proof? And what specifically about how organizations manage talent can lead to improved performance? We know that a “one size fits all” talent approach doesn’t work for multinational companies, but how exactly should they tailor a talent management approach by market? We set out to research this connection with an emphasis on talent practices in three growth markets: Brazil, China, and India. After nearly three years of study, what we uncovered is much richer than even we anticipated. We now have data and insights that can guide organizations looking to grow in these markets.

The greatest insight of our analysis was that while there is a specific, standard approach that leads to greater talent management maturity and correlates with better business and talent outcomes, that approach must be tailored for each growth market. The standard approach we developed is the Bersin by Deloitte Talent Management Maturity Model,1 and was based on an analysis of more than 800 organizations in growth markets and more than 400 Global organizations (see Figure 1).

Figure 1. The Bersin by Deloitte Talent Management Maturity Model: Comparisons across markets

As indicated by the maturity model, the majority of companies in all markets are at Level 2 maturity (or lower), where they tend to focus on honing individual talent management practices (such as talent acquisition, performance management, learning). This is in contrast to those few companies at higher levels of maturity, where talent management is viewed more holistically as an essential component of business strategy, and talent systems, processes, and practices are intentionally designed to integrate and provide a cohesive employee experience.

The fact that so many organizations are at Level 2 may, at first, mask the fact that the dynamics occurring within these markets are quite different. Our deeper analysis (based on survey data, interviews, and secondary literature review) of the prevalence of specific practices revealed deep differences, which shed light on why certain programs, which may work in some markets, can be very hard to implement in others (see Figure 2). For example, organizations in India tend to have very different learning and leadership development needs than those in Brazil. The rich data behind the model gives additional insights on how to fine tune various talent processes given the capabilities of the organization and the results it wants to achieve.

Figure 2. Talent management strengths and opportunities for growth markets

It is important to recognize that talent strategies can have real financial consequences. For example, in the global organizations analyzed, when compared with organizations of similar size and less mature talent management practices, mature large organizations had 2.3 times higher cash flow per employee over a three-year period. In growth markets, we found that highly mature organizations were between 1.3 and 1.6 times more likely to be highly effective at process efficiency, 1.3 times more likely to be agile, and 1.3 times more likely to be innovative. These organizations were also between approximately two and three times more likely to be highly effective at coaching for high performance and more likely to be highly effective at identifying and developing leaders.

Given the large investment companies make in their growth market strategies and the potential impact of highly effective talent strategies, the potential return available to companies that make targeted, appropriate talent management decisions is large. Our analysis shows that market-specific understanding of talent practices coupled with the insight of the maturity model can influence return on investment and financial performance.

What’s more, the global nature of the data makes the findings useful for organizations operating across geographies, regardless of where they are headquartered—for example, a Chinese company working in Brazil, an Indian company working in China, or a European multinational working in all of these markets.

Analytics-backed talent insights about the market in which a company operates can now be applied in practical and business-relevant ways. The tools for customizing generic or market-agnostic talent strategies are finally here and can help organizations better understand what drives talent maturity and how to act upon it appropriately to deliver better business results.

You can read more about our research and the specific talent insights we uncovered in Talent matters: How a well-designed talent experience can drive growth in emerging marketsor by viewing webinar recordings exploring the findings across India, China, and Brazil – or specific deep dives into talent management maturity in China or India.

Bersin by Deloitte members can also access more in-depth results of our research within the Bersin research library.

Ina Gantcheva is a senior manager with Deloitte Consulting LLP’s Human Capital practice and focuses on organizational and talent transformation for multinational organizations. She has extensive experience across Europe, Asia, and the Americas and has led large-scale projects focused on global and local market talent strategies, talent branding, acquisition, retention, and development.
Stacia Sherman Garr leads Bersin by Deloitte, Deloitte Consulting LLP’s talent management research practice. Her areas of experience include talent strategy, workforce planning, performance management, and leadership development.

1 Stacia Sherman Garr, Candace Atamanik, and David Mallon, High-impact talent management: The new talent management maturity model, Bersin by Deloitte, Deloitte Consulting LLP, 2015,

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