Critical talent management

Integrate talent with strategy, organisation and culture, systematically plan and implement critical talent management based on the construction of talent management mechanism

Critical talent is the most important part of an organisation’s human capital. Managing this group correlates with a company’s success. However, managing this talent can be a challenging task for many organisations and involves answering questions such as:

  • How and on what basis should the performance of critical talent be assessed?
  • If a critical talent is incompetent, is there a suitable replacement?
  • Who is responsible for managing critical talent in an organisation? What roles should different stakeholders play and how should they collaborate with each other?

To address these issues, organisations need a systematic critical talent management plan.

With strategic talent planning as the starting point and standard setting as the anchor, PwC’s Critical Talent Management Framework covers the critical talent management lifecycle. It can help organisations with the selection, training and development, performance improvement, and succession planning for critical roles.

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Our capabilities

Based on your organisation’s business strategy, budget planning, operational efficiency indicators and talent diversity goals for the next one to three years, we will construct a model to predict the overall talent requirements for the relevant positions, both quantitatively and qualitatively. We will also identify headcount and competency gaps based on a thorough assessment of the status quo. Finally, we will help your organisation develop talent lifecycle management strategies and action plans, ranging from talent recruitment and development to job rotation. Critical talent planning is an essential part of strategic talent planning.

Critical talent standards provide the foundation for critical talent lifecycle management. Based on your organisation’s business strategy and core value propositions, we will help your organisation define common talent standards, ‘the Core’, in line with your talent philosophy and differentiated talent standards for different business units and scenarios, ‘the X’. The result, ‘Core+X’ is a combination of scenario-based and practical standards, including core values, performance, competencies and experience.

The selection and appointment process is critical to the person-job fit. Based on an analysis of different scenarios, we will help your organisation design ground rules, processes, and mechanisms for talent selection and appointment, as well as define the roles and responsibilities of different stakeholders at each stage. This will help your organisation make decisions more efficiently and put the right people in the right jobs.

Based on the critical talent standards, we will tailor assessment methods to suit your organisation. A variety of methods such as assessment centres, one-to-one interviews, 360-degree evaluations and questionnaires can be used to assess the overall capability of critical talent. Our services include assessment method design, case development, implementation, empowerment and assessment report preparation.

Based on the assessment, we will identify the focus of training and development programmes and help your organisation design and implement them. Following the 70-20-10 rule, our programmes combine training and practice and systematically integrate ‘Acknowledgment, Perception and Action’ to develop talent holistically. PwC will also help your organisation design accelerator programmes for key positions and multi-level development programmes based on critical talent standards. In addition, we will help your organisation define the roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders and establish a mechanism to ensure that training and development programmes can be implemented effectively.

Performance management consists of goal setting, process management, performance appraisal and result application. We align goal setting with your organisation’s strategy and business goals, using a systematic and top-down approach. At the same time, we will help your organisation to define the organisational, departmental and individual performance targets at each level.

The incentive system will be designed to reward hard work, using a variety of means used to ensure effective motivation. Long-term incentives have an important role to play as they can help build a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship between talent and the organisation.

Based on the gap between successor capability and the talent standards, we will help your organisation to classify successors at different levels, and develop succession plans for them, including job rotation, project involvement, internal training and mentoring. In addition, we will create a mechanism for your organisation to assess the readiness of successors periodically, enabling you to build an adequate reserve of talent for the company.

Based on Core+X talent standards, we will help your organisation to create a talent label database and a talent filing template. At the same time, we will help you create file management mechanisms, such as rules for data collection, pre-employment file review, and file retrieval, to ensure standardised, visualised and normalised file management.

Based on your organisation’s digitalisation blueprint, we will help you build a talent file data analytics model that can provide insights for future talent management decisions. We can also help your organisation bridge the talent file with other important HR modules, such as performance appraisal, recruitment, training and development, and employee benefits, so that critical talent can be managed in a closed-loop system throughout its lifecycle.

The organisational capability to manage critical talent is essential for a sustainable critical talent management system. We can help your organisation build a critical talent management function based on your business strategy and organisational needs. Specifically, we can help your organisation define roles and responsibilities within the department and establish work calendars. These efforts can provide an organisational guarantee for the effective implementation of the critical talent management system.

Our past experiences

In recent years, PwC has provided critical talent management services to a number of leading companies:

Advised a major pharmaceutical company in China on the development and implementation of a critical talent management system.

  • Established critical talent standards, including group-wide standards and business unit/department-specific standards.
  • Assessed the group’s 1,000+ critical talents.
  • Designed training and development programmes based on the critical talent standards, including multi-level development programmes for managerial roles and accelerator programmes for critical roles.
  • Built a critical talent management mechanism that covers the talent management lifecycle, including selection, appointment, assessment, appraisal, motivation, job rotation, development and departure, as well as a talent reserve mechanism.

Developed a global critical talent management system for a multinational group.

  • Established competency standards for key positions, including group-wide standards and scenario-specific standards, thereby developing a profile of certain critical roles.
  • Established standardised rules for tenure management to accelerate cross-region or cross-country mobility of critical talent.
  • Built a global database of talent labels and introduced a talent pool enhancement tool for data sorting and analysis, enabling intelligent management of critical talent.
  • Devised a talent succession plan, focusing on the cognitive development and upskilling of successors and forming a critical talent ladder.

Contact us

Johnny Yu

Workforce Advisory Leader, PwC China

Tel: +[86] (10) 6533 2685

Connie Zhu

Partner, PwC China

Tel: +[86] (21) 2323 2040

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