The workplace is changing. A global and mobile workforce, multi-generational, diverse talent and empowered workforce are changing the workplace. Talent professionals today work in an ever-changing and dynamic environment that requires skillful crafting of talent strategy. According to Mercer Global Trends Survey 2019, two in five employees plan to leave their organization in the next 12 months.
During the same period, 97% of C-suite executives predict an increase in competition for talent. The traditional mantra of “attract and retain” is lately being replaced with “attract and continually attract”. Thus, gathering insights into how the value proposition can resonate to help shape messaging to candidates becomes vital.
“There has been a significant change in the way that ‘Talent’ is viewed. An environment, which is commonly described as VUCA i.e. the Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity of the environment also impact how organizations deal with their talent programs”
An employee goes through phases of understanding their role and organization culture, once they onboard any organization. They develop a sense of learnability as one move ahead in the journey. As per my observations during my experience with multinational IT/ ITES and NBFCs, an employee moves through various stages (Fig. 1) with the increase in tenure. After 18+ months, if an organization is unable to provide suitable opportunities for growth until 3 months, the ready potential is likely to disengage, and the process will have to start again from the first step.
A key to this will be understanding the context within which, Talent and Talent Management takes place. Depending on the definition of Talent for any organization, talent strategy and its implementation will vary. Some define it as ‘High Potentials’, while at some organizations, all employees are regarded as talent regardless of role or organizational level. While having the definition worked out, one needs to emphasize on implications for performance enhancement, individual development, succession planning, and workforce planning. Hence, there is a need to clearly define exactly what is meant by the term ‘talent’, which brings an organization-wide buy-in to the definition. Once the same is in place, there will be greater clarity about where resources should be targeted in order to maximize the potential of talented resources.
Integrated Talent Management
With the increasing dynamics, it is evident to have an integrated Talent Management approach (Fig. 1), but one size doesn’t fit all. It’s not necessary to start with multiple initiatives at once, rather go slow and adopt various evolution phases of the process.
Broadly, this integration has 4 categories, which are outcomes of the process. These categories are supported by certain organizational levers as shown in Fig. 2
1- Job Rotation/ Shadowing
Many talent development professionals understand that rotational or job shadowing initiatives would be beneficial in retaining and securing talent and shall be upright for developing the depth of skills within the organization. Such programs are followed by gaining sponsorship and leadership commitment. While this step is easier in an organization’s that realize the importance of developing their employees, doing so anywhere will require presenting a business case for the program. Select the roles and functional areas that you would like involved, which are connected to the business goals and map accordingly. Remember that a job rotation or shadowing will benefit both the individual involved and the business. The team that takes on the rotational employee, however, will need to put some efforts before, during, and after the shift. This should be carefully addressed when selecting roles and functional areas.
2- Career Progression
Employees continuously need to upgrade their competencies and skills to meet the current demands, whereas, organizations need to be ready with resources who can handle the pressure efficiently and mitigate the risk of falling prey to the market conditions. Therefore, the process of organizational career progression is important for both employers and employees. Although the business environment has been endlessly experiencing changes such as the reclassification of jobs, economic downsizing, cost reductions, IT innovations, etc., they need to create that environment and culture for continuous learning and support their employees by rewarding and motivating them. It is important for employees to understand what opportunities exist within the organization and how they can progress towards them. A robust talent management system will facilitate this by giving a clear development path for employees to follow based on their aspirations. This is also a clear signal to employees that the organization is willing to invest in them which is proven to improve employee motivation and retention.
3- Engagement & Recognition
There is a powerful link between engagement and recognition. Simply by acknowledging and recognizing employees for their work, businesses can generate a strong emotional commitment to their organization. Recognition should be immediate, or as close to the achievement occurring as possible. It reinforces the behavior the employer wants to encourage. Managers need to spend time in knowing their employees and what makes them tick so that they can acknowledge and reward them in the most suitable way. It needs to be personalized for the individual. According to the Annual Globoforce and SHRM employee recognition survey 2018, companies with values-based recognition schemes were more likely to deliver a strong return on investment, reinforce and instill corporate values, and maintain a strong employer brand. Companies that spend 1% or more of payroll on recognition is nearly three times as likely to have their recognition program rated as excellent, compared to companies that spend less than 1%.
Employer brand comprises of multiple dimensions characteristic to commercial branding: It creates two principal assets – (a) Brand Associations, which shape the employer image and affects the attractiveness of the organization to potential candidates; and (b) Brand Loyalty, through organizational culture and brand identity.
4- Development (Feedback, Coaching, Mentoring)
Increasingly, organizations realize many benefits of developing talent through mentoring and coaching programs. However, the questions arise about the use of each method, how these methods support talent development, and the tools available for running these programs. Organizations who are successful in developing their talent tend to focus on three main areas:
- Defined process for talent selection and leadership development, which supports human capital objectives and strategic business
- Organizations use Employee Assessments to identify specific ‘Talent’ for their structured interventions. There are many models and frameworks available but what is crucial is to recognize what fits the current realities and context of the organization.
- Some organizations have found it challenging to quantify the return on such investments. Overall, talent management tools deliver a productive and engaged workforce, and a strong ROI provided organizations know how to measure the benefits to their employees and get insights towards financial improvements of their bottom lines.
- Culture, where employees feel emotionally engaged with their work and want to remain, learn, and grow.
- Commitment to develop, support and advise individuals through mentoring and coaching, thereby ensuring a continuous process of development, feedback, and positive learning energy focused on employees.
HR will continue to be the strategic partner of talent, driving an organization’s talent strategy, a more integrated approach is necessary. As HR and business collaborate more closely together and begin to align their strategies, they can increase an organization’s capacity for growth, recognize cost savings and introduce greater efficiencies. By reconsidering traditional workforce models and focusing more on the skills needed and the value a worker can bring to the organization, a new mindset is emerging − where employers recognize that harnessing a fully blended workforce creates a real competitive advantage.