Summary of The Differentiated Workforce

Transforming Talent into Strategic Impact

Harvard Business Review Press, more...

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The Differentiated Workforce book summary
Make strategic use of your most important asset – your employees – by sorting them.


9 Overall

9 Applicability

7 Innovation

8 Style


Most firms agree that their employees are their “most important asset,” but few firms use their people strategically in today’s “war for talent.” When you “differentiate” your workforce, you develop your best employees to fulfill your company’s strategic goals. Your job as a manager is to deploy talent as you would any other strategic resource – because that’s what it is. So instead of using across-the-board spending to educate and develop all workers, you are more likely to realize your strategic goals if you allocate more resources to develop the people with the highest potential. Differentiating means identifying the right employees to “train harder and advance faster.” Brian E. Becker and Mark A. Huselid (who co-wrote The HR Scorecard) and Richard W. Beatty (their co-author on The Workforce Scorecard) explain why a differentiated workforce strategy is crucial. Then they outline a step-by-step process for identifying which employees have strategic talent and for managing them to achieve your company’s goals. getAbstract recommends their tactical approach to workforce management to business owners and human resources professionals who are eager to make strategic use of their troops.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why a “differentiated workforce” is important
  • How to achieve it with a five-step strategy
  • Why it is crucial to your competitive success


What Is “Differentiation”?
Few organizations make strategic use of their most important asset – the people who work for them. To focus your staff on high-priority goals, establish “a differentiated workforce strategy,” in which you “put strategy first” by deploying your best talent for...
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About the Authors

Brian E. Becker and Mark A. Huselid wrote The HR Scorecard with Dave Ulrich. Richard W. Beatty joined Becker and Huselid as co-author of The Workforce Scorecard.

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