Identifying which roles are critical for your company’s success is a vital part of hiring the best talent and should form a key element in your hiring strategy. But what is a business-critical role, and how can you recognise one?

Chances are, your company’s identification of a ‘business-critical‘ role currently relies on a gut-feel assessment, their uniqueness, or on which roles are paid the highest salary. However, it doesn’t necessarily hold true that the rarest people or those being paid the most are the only roles critical to the success of your organisation. We outline the best practice for identifying and nurturing the roles your company needs most.

Why it’s important to know your business-critical roles

Business-critical roles can be summarised as the ones which add the most value and have the greatest strategic impact in a company. They aren’t necessarily the ones which are hardest to fill, demand the highest salary, or even those at C-level. In fact, depending on the type of company, the most business-critical role in an organisation may even be a sales director or a key account manager. 

It’s crucial to know where these roles are in your company as your talent strategy should centre around them. They should command the most investment in terms of resources and people, frequent learning and development assessments, and effective management. Disproportionate investment in business-critical roles has been shown to enhance organisational performance, contribute to the achievement of strategic and business objectives, and provide longer-term competitive advantage. 

Unfortunately there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution to identifying which roles are critical; just as every company is different, so are their needs. Each organisation therefore has to assess this for themselves, but there are common markers to look out for. 

How to manage your business-critical roles

Moving away from the mindset of hiring A-players for every role isn’t easy, but when you begin to think in terms of A-positions it becomes far more straightforward to identify and manage business-critical hiring. It’s thought that fewer than 20% of roles will be business-critical within any given organisation, but that these roles will create the majority of value for the company. 

Take tech behemoth Apple as an example. Their USP and competitive differentiator is that they’re innovative, creative, and at the forefront of consumer technology. Who are the people responsible for keeping Apple in this position? Which role would have the biggest cost or reputational impact if mistakes were made? Where would production/sales be most affected by a vacancy? Most likely by Apple’s research engineers who are coming up with the next iPhone and safeguarding Apple’s future; CEO Tim Cook is therefore less business-critical to Apple’s success than these engineers.  

Retaining A-position employees who can continue to provide value creation and strategic impact without disruption is therefore very important, particularly when considering that they are the most expensive to replace. That said, first you’ve got to find them and hire them!

It stands to reason that finding an A-player to fill an A-position won’t be a walk in the park, but that’s where we come in. Solutions Driven has specialised in sourcing business-critical hires for global organisations for 20 years. Our unique SD 6S Process is tailor-made for the most crucial employees, and our 12-month guarantee ensures your business will continue to run smoothly. 

(Quotes: Becker, Huselid & Beatty)

Need a hand to get your business-critical hiring in shape?

Gianna Legate

Gianna Legate

Content Marketing Specialist

Gianna has degrees in English and Marketing, and spends her days with Solutions Driven researching and reporting on the latest trends and recruitment industry insights.