Talent management mistakes are holding companies back from making big changes—Here’s how HR leaders can avoid the pitfalls

 Corporate America is amid several revolutions. AI promises to totally upend work as we know it, employees have come to expect more than ever from their workplace, and continued labor shortages mean leaders have to be even more creative with how they attract and retain talent. 

Business leaders are faced with the prospect of making some big changes, but a new survey from consulting firm Bain of more than 400 executives and senior leaders has found that only 12% achieved their original business transformation ambitions. And a major reason for that is how they mismanage talent.  

“Talent is a critical factor to really get it right,” Melissa Burke, executive vice president of Bain’s change management and implementation practice, tells Fortune. “There are some pain points that are critical for us to address.”

Bain found that executives are likely to make three key mistakes when it comes to failing on their transformation goals: Not identifying what kind of skills are needed to pull it off, overworking top-performing employees, and only developing a short-term talent strategy. 

But there are some things HR leaders in particular can do to help their companies through a time of great upheaval. 

Create an inner circle: Make a list of critical roles that will report directly to the executive team, and consider deputizing someone as the chief transformation officer. 

Protect the superstars: Make sure that all HR leaders are looking out for employees who may be overloaded with responsibilities to make that transformation happen. “It’s not only just putting the right people in the seats, but then what are you taking off their plate to make room for it?” says Burke.

Think 10 years ahead: If short-term planning is the trap, then long-term planning is the solution. That likely means involving HR in strategic discussions. Burke also recommends creating short, medium- ---, and long-term talent management plans, identifying what skills the companies will need during each interval and how to get them. 

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