28 November 2022

Succeed through Defying the Status Quo in Talent Strategy

Succeed Through Defying the Status Quo in Talent Strategy

Over the coming decade, many factors will have a seismic impact on global workforces. Some of these factors include the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), highly diverse workforces and talent shortages. And with the “Millennial Takeover” fast approaching (where by 2025 it is estimated that millennials will make up almost 75% of all employees), yesterday’s HR processes and solutions simply won’t cut it for this generation who have grown up in a digital world. The rate and extent of change will have implications for organisations’ approaches to talent management. To cope with this new world of work, companies can no longer copy best practices from others. They must now invent, iterate, and scale their own new models. As Peter Drucker once famously said, “innovate or die.” Similarly, HBR advises, “stay ahead of the pace of change or you’re toast.”

It is no surprise then that organisations are now considering the following question:

How do we refresh talent management to make it more fit-for-purpose and more likely to deliver solutions for the challenges of the new world of work?

Traditionally, talent management has focused on meeting business objectives through a “command and control” management system, which has not always allowed for fluidity. A more fluid, people-centric approach to talent and business strategies within the organisation is now required to drive desired outcomes. In order to get ahead of external workplace changes, organisations will need to leverage the potential of its people by investing in their development and enabling empowerment. Organisations can gain the competitive advantage needed to succeed in the new economy by focusing more on the person and placing individual purpose at the centre of the talent process.

This refreshed focus emphasizes inclusive versus exclusive, talent management approaches and practices. This is evident in recent research (presented by Josh Bersin and the CIPD, among others) and in emerging organisational practice.

Josh Bersin (2020) What is Talent Management “Organizations are made up of people: people creating value through proven business processes, innovation, customer service, sales, and many other important activities. As an organization strives to meet its business goals, it must make sure that it has a continuous and integrated process for recruiting, training, managing, supporting, and compensating these people”

CIPD 2022 “Talent management is no longer about just developing your high performing individuals. Many organisations are broadening their definitions, looking at the ‘talents’ of all their staff and working on ways to develop their strengths, inclusive versus exclusive approaches. At its broadest, then, the term ‘talent’ may be used to include an organisation’s whole workforce.”

Korn Ferry recently conducted a benchmarking study that sought to understand how top companies are driving innovative and disruptive practices in talent strategy, to identify the key factors that will help attract and engage the world’s best talent, and to quantify the gap between current and disruptive practices. In this study, ‘Disrupting Talent Management,’ Korn Ferry has identified seven core objectives to support your HR function in remaining current and ahead of the curve in this changing global marketplace:

1. Alignment between business and talent strategy is key.

  • In general, there is now an understanding amongst business units and HR teams that business and talent strategies must be in alignment for the organisation to succeed. However, talent processes are not evolving as fast as business practices. Companies are working to transform capabilities and operating models, as well as shift definitions of success from process efficiency to outcomes.

2. Elevate diversity and inclusion to the top of the business agenda.

  • Disruptive organisations are changing their view on diversity and inclusion from one of a business imperative to a matter of compliance. They are continuously driving their culture towards one of inclusion through their events, symbols, and initiatives. This, in turn, drives their organisation towards innovation, increased engagement, and a move for underrepresented groups into leadership roles.

3. Accelerate change by redefining management and leadership.

  • Ask yourself how your organisation can consistently retool managers and redefine their roles to have more of an enterprise focus. How can you use career and succession planning, as well as team development, to accelerate change?

4. Empower self-determined people to increase productivity.

  • Organisations are becoming more agile, analytical, digital and are a more aware and diverse workforce which challenges traditional talent processes and systems. In response to these changes, organisations are now prioritising culture and productivity, and empowering more people to make bigger, more impactful decisions.

5. Enable growth and innovation through culture.

  • Culture is difficult to copy and so it is increasingly seen as a competitive asset.

6. Make differentiated investments in critical talent and roles.

  • More and more companies are looking to segment their workforce to add more value to employees and reduce costs for the business. Segmentation unlocks customizable solutions and helps HR focus on scaling development programs and closing talent gaps. And there are multiple ways to segment talent: longer-term leadership potential, near-term readiness, critical capabilities, and archetypes.

7. Unleash creative ways to source hard-to-find talent.

  • Companies are redefining jobs and are working on defining the hard and soft qualities that make a difference in performance.

Finally, Josh Bersin quite rightly states that “Talent Management is a natural evolution of HR. It is a series of business processes — not a “product” or “solution” you can buy.” So, there is no doubt that Talent Management as a “forward future looking function,” should firmly be the current and next phase evolution of HR and People Strategies.

Authors: Aoife Donavan Lee, Harvests’ Head of Research and Innovation and Nicola O’Neill, Harvest’s Managing Director