banner on the sofa pages

On the Sofa with Tua Pelli: How Investing in Your Talent Has Become of Strategic Importance to Organizations

SHL’s Tua Pelli talks about why investing in talent is crucial to meeting organizations’ strategic goals.

In this month’s “On the Sofa” series, we are joined by Tua Pelli, Director of PreSales, EMEA, who talks about the key priorities for organizations when it comes to talent, the impact of not getting the right strategy in place, and the importance of data to drive talent decisions.

Tell us a bit about your role at SHL

I have a long history at SHL with a total of over 20 years of experience working here in various roles. I am a business psychologist as my background and currently work as Director of PreSales in the EMEA region which involves combining the psychology of work with technology to help our customers achieve transformations in their businesses and execute their strategies.

When working with customers across different regions and industries, have you noticed common trends in how the approach to talent management has evolved?

Changes and transformations are happening everywhere, across all organizations and all industries. Businesses must deal with the after-effects of the pandemic, economic challenges, and rapid development of new technologies.

To be successful in a changing environment, organizations have to realize that their talent is key. That means understanding their people and using objective data to see where their talent is, what their skill sets are, and what is needed to get them where they want to be.

Are you now seeing talent regarded as something of strategic importance?

Absolutely, people are now part of strategic business conversations—so when talking about growth, targets, financials, and so on, talent and talent strategy must be part of these conversations as it is critical for meeting the strategic goals.

Usually, this starts with identifying top talent, finding their development aspirations and what motivates them, so they can be kept engaged and do what is needed to retain them. These employees are generally in demand and so in danger of going elsewhere if they are not getting what they want from the role.

Increasingly these processes are now being expanded to all talent and across the whole organization as the same principles apply—there are challenges in recruitment and retention across every role and the cost of hiring is always going to be higher than enabling internal employee mobility to help people progress and move into new or more senior roles.

To be successful in a changing environment, organizations have to realize that their talent is key.

What would you say are the main priorities that organizations have when it comes to their people?

When it comes to people, I would say there are typically 3 key priorities that I see within most organizations. The first is talent acquisition, so proactively attracting and retaining talent from the wider talent pool and ensuring a strong and diverse talent pipeline.

Secondly, as I have mentioned, because change is prevalent in most organizations, future-proofing leaders, and having the right leaders in place is more important than ever. These leaders need to demonstrate behaviors aligned with the company strategy and be capable of coaching and developing others to achieve their full potential through inclusion, collaboration, and trust. There is also a need to be more resourceful so they can deliver more to the customer with less, and that starts with leaders.

Finally, I would say up/re-skilling and creating a learning organization that encourages curiosity and lifelong learning to drive business and personal success helps retention, employee engagement, and internal mobility, benefitting all involved.

What are the common pitfalls that companies make when implementing their talent strategy?

Many businesses are still making decisions based on a manager’s or an individual’s view that is subjective, and so the first challenge is often to remove any bias from their processes by basing decisions on data.

Another challenge is that the information and data organizations have on their talents often sit across numerous systems owned by different stakeholders. Organizations are struggling with how best to utilize it and get true value from it.

I would also say that too much emphasis is given to existing knowledge, previous experience, and even to a certain extent current performance. Everyone has potential, so measuring that potential and how it fits into your organization could provide huge benefits in getting the right people in the right place and planning for growth and change. Organizations can then be prepared for what they can do now but also for what they are capable to do in the future.

As change is prevalent in most organizations, future-proofing leaders, and having the right leaders in place is more important than ever.

What could the business impact be of not getting this strategy right or not proactively tackling these challenges?

As a simple example, research shows that making subjective hiring decisions not based on any data will increase the risk that your talent will fail to meet their objectives, meet growth targets and negatively affect business performance.

To see organizations, implement a new strategy and realize the benefits is always a great feeling. One of the things I am passionate about is showing how our solutions can use objective data to drive decision-making and build a robust and diverse pipeline of talent.

Once you have assessed someone, you repurpose that data to support multiple decisions. Data reuse gives you instant access to the industry’s best science, without having to outsource a service, or continually assess people. These insights can determine what matters most to help solve challenges, drive growth, develop employees, and deal with organizational change. Without this, it can be easy to have blinkered views and perceptions and risk reducing the effectiveness of actions and investments.

If you look at most departments in an organization, Sales, or Marketing for example, they tend to be data-driven, whether it’s sales numbers, response rates, or ROI, so HR should have a similar approach. This is why talent data and analytics have become the number 1 trend for CHRO investment as businesses need robust talent analytics, just like they do for all their key business decisions.

SHL’s Mobilize is a multi-award-winning talent management solution to support decision-making across the entire employee lifecycle. It provides a single source of talent data to deliver real-time insights into individuals, teams, and the entire organization.

Learn more about how SHL can help deliver on your talent strategy. Invest in your talent today!

headshot pelli tua


Tua Pelli

Tua has over 20 years of international consulting experience designing and deploying a wide range of solutions across talent acquisition and talent management. She has gained solid experience as a management consultant in helping organizations connect HR processes to business strategy, finding the right people, and nurturing their existing talent. Away from work, she enjoys outdoor activities, traveling, time with family, and her further studies in cognitive psychology.

Explore SHL’s Wide Range of Solutions

With our platform of pre-configured talent acquisition and talent management solutions, maximize the potential of your company’s greatest asset—your people.

See Our Solutions