Organizations are always on the edge, striving to have the best competitive advantage. In a fast-changing marketplace, the ones with the most innovative, strategic, and agile offerings succeed. Talent management is the foundation of creating meaningful people practices and in today’s agile environments, it is critical to the performance of a company.
The recent pandemic crisis has accelerated the preexisting talent management trends, nudging CHRO’s to reimagine strong and sustainable talent strategies that add value to their businesses and thrive in our ever-evolving workplaces. Here are some talent management strategies for an agile and ever-evolving workforce:
Broadening the Talent Horizon
We are operating in the most challenging marketplace for talent that we have ever seen. As the war for talent intensifies and pool for niche skills run slim, we need to play smart when defining ways to attract, acquire and assign the right talent for the right jobs that keeps us ahead of the game. Relying on the 4B’s – build, buy, borrow, and bot – organizations can better manage the talent need with roles to fit changing workforce preferences, technological advances, and market conditions while maximizing the talent market in all its forms for the right roles.
While acquiring new talent into the workforce brings in newer skills and intelligence, hiring alone is not a sustainable solution to the talent crisis. As business platforms mature, companies need to evaluate where to invest in continuous reskilling in the workforce, which is paramount to remain competitive. Alternatively, engaging with the gig workforce can help create multidisciplinary teams for a short-term partnership, while bringing in talent as temporary workers to complement existing skills.
We’re living in a time where technology is developing at a rapid pace – this calls for us to evaluate roles and processes that we can transition over to the digital side. More than just automating processes, let’s pause and reassess what are those experiences like career counselling, first-level grievance handling among many others that we can digitize and make purposeful.
Today, the need for talent agility boils down to a single fact – people keep themselves relevant by being agile. The future of work demands an approach to managing talent that disrupts the status quo, breaking down rigid silos between business units and allowing people to work across various roles and departments in a non-linear way. Cultivating a culture of Talent Agility within the organization, nurtures an agile mindset that promotes collaboration, improvement and learning experiences, and the ability to adapt to change quickly.
Additionally, creating platforms for internal talent mobility, not only facilitates a healthy churn of talent within the organization, but it also ensures people are regularly upskilled, are presented with opportunities to learn and cross-pollinate across the board, thereby encouraging transactionality of skills and experiences within the organization – enriching talent.
Freedom and Flexibility
Pre-pandemic, working remotely was more of an exception than the rule. Today, freedom and flexibility are more than just an expectation – it’s the norm. Whether it’s hybrid working, compressed workweeks, part-time work, or any other flex arrangement, integrating ‘flex culture’ is integral to agile talent strategies. Organizations need to reprioritize their future of work strategies beyond the lens of infrastructure and focus on providing the right framework for practices fostering a culture where everyone can be at their best, thereby contributing to higher innovation, productivity, and collaboration.
This not only grants employees autonomy to control when, where and how they get their work gets done but acts as an enabler that encourages employees to focus on radical, rather than incremental improvement but also acts as key talent attraction and retention drivers.
Managing and Rewarding Performance
Effective rewards processes go beyond monetary benefits – they are those that provide relevant and meaningful career opportunities, investments in skills development, and recognition programs. Research shows that strong rewards and appreciation culture are a common denominator among the most successful companies. At SAP, we have a consistent and fair pay-for-performance process across the organization – and that’s why during the pandemic, we readjusted our bonuses to ensure our employees get awarded rightly. We sustainably create an environment where we appreciate positive behaviors and not just outcomes, are transparent about appreciation – we even have a dedicated Appreciate Day and apricate hours planned during the year to nurturing strong relationships and help our employees see a sense of purpose at work.
Emphasis on Leadership Skills
While there is no dispute that traditional “hard skills”—including those associated with increasing technology adoption are important, organizations are increasingly weighing more importance on softer skills that can create and influence better employee experiences, improve productivity, and set up organizations for success.
Some critical skills needed in leadership are empathy, trust, and accountability that hold more value in creating a work environment where employees feel valued and thereby perform at their best. At SAP, we leveraged our spirit of togetherness to create a platform for leaders to share personal experiences and have candid conversations on the difficulty they faced in these times. These platforms helped leaders leverage best practices from their peers’ experiences as well as provide an avenue for them to be vulnerable about their challenges. We even had a targeted session covering critical topics such as attrition, learning & development, empathetic leadership, manager career development.
Talent management involves the variable element of human behavior and interactions, which means it can be difficult to measure – but not impossible. The best way to ensure that your Talent Management strategy is agile is by measuring and assessing its impact.
Adopting reporting tools, measuring the evolution of the company’s turnover, keeping track of various key metrics that indicate engagement, internal mobility, leadership culture, innovation indices, and others alike, as well as the organization’s economic performance, are strong indicators of the successful implementation of an agile talent management strategy.
Talent management is an ever-evolving process and one that we can continually improve and adapt to the changing work environment and marketplace. When done right, it has the power to change lives and careers, and transform industries. Remember, talent management is not about groundbreaking processes – it’s about the people.