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A Talent Map for the Future

Predicting and preparing for what lies ahead is a tough job.

But it’s what HR leaders must do daily—forecast workforce needs, and anticipate new technologies and talent trends that will shape how the organization does business. Chief human resource officers (CHROs) must frequently do some self-assessment as well, determining what part they and the HR function as a whole will play as the company moves forward.  

Curious about where chief HR officers see themselves and the HR function helping to lead their organizations into the future, i4cp co-founder Jay Jamrog recently interviewed 85 CHROs to gather some insights.  

The consensus was that the HR business partner, capable of working at a strategic level as a consultant and advisor to employees and management, and looking ahead to determine the organization’s future talent needs, is the most critical role.  

Jamrog asked a similar question of the 25 HR leaders who convened in New York on Nov. 2 to attend his workshop, “Enabling Agility with HRBPs and Workforce Planning,” hosted by Dow Jones. Attendees at the i4cp 2018 Conference, to be held March 26 – 29 in Scottsdale, AZ, can expect similar, spirited discussion in a workshop session entitled Enabling Agility with HR Business Partners.  

Over the course of one day, Jamrog and those in attendance discussed the role that HR will play in the future and the challenges HR will likely face along the way. These conversations frequently came back to the importance and difficulty of being able to peek around the corner and predict where and when your organization will need talent. For example, should the organization overstaff in what figures to be an area of need, such as cyber-risk? Or plan to allocate fewer resources to areas where business is not as robust? 

Addressing such questions requires a talent risk assessment, says Jamrog, who defines talent risk as: the gap between the current technical and professional capacity of a workforce and where it needs to be in one year, three years and five years.  

This process should include a review of business strategy with operational leaders, as well as a scan of the external labor market and a supply and demand analysis, for example.  To demonstrate this assessment in action, workshop participants created a talent map for the Triple J Lounge, the fictitious restaurant that Jamrog created for the exercise.  

The goal of talent mapping is to segment the workforce and thus understand the critical and pivotal talent segments that will be most important to the success of the business, first identifying critical roles, followed by skills and then individuals. A server, for example, might be considered a pivotal role, while a manager or bartender would typically be classified as critical.

Jamrog also provided key metrics and information necessary to create a talent map for your organization: 


  • Number of employees (point in time or average)

  • Job descriptions
  • Organization strategy/Competitive advantage 

Nice to Have

  • Strategy documents/Marketing plans
  • Number of open requisitions
  • Time to fill
  • Relocation expenses
  • Offers rejected
  • Applicant Sources
  • First-Year Termination Rate
  • Quality of Hire
  • Community Data
  • Graduation Rates 

Of course, the organizations most skilled at determining their talent priorities will be the most successful at hiring and retaining the best and brightest, says Jamrog, who stressed to attendees that, ultimately, the winners in predictive hiring will be the winners in the war for talent.