Talent Management 360: An Evolving Approach to Talent Part 1


Like everything else in 2020, talent management is changing and evolving as the workforce adjusts to the reality of the new normal. Those changes bring questions about the next normal as the fallout from the COVID era will surely be felt in the coming years and challenge talent professionals in developing the workforce needed to thrive in recovery and overcome the next crisis.

Managers are having to engage employees on a more regular basis and companies are finding new ways to measure and define productivity as the forced shift to work from home cultures has changed not just where, but how and when we work. 

All of this has a tremendous impact on the philosophy, administration and execution of talent management strategy and technique. According to a report from McKinsey & Company, a majority of executives from across industries say they anticipate spending less on hiring and talent acquisition processes, instead shifting expenditures toward workforce planning, strategy and change.

With hiring budgets uncertain for the foreseeable future, the way human resource teams think about talent management is evolving. How it’s changing, where investment is needed, what new technology will play a role and which people processes will change the most are all important factors for HR professionals to consider. In this three part series, we’ll attempt to show how challenges are being met today and answer those questions through the insight of industry experts and talent thought leaders.

The Changing Talent Landscape

Rewind the clock a year and there was significantly less discussion around reskilling employees. Learning and development was a focus for L&D professionals, with HR focusing heavily on what was dubbed the “war for talent.” With the arrival of COVID-19, the war was over, with many organizations having to be creative just to keep their best talent on the books.

Now, what that talent is being asked to do is largely centered on two things: upskilling and developing a professional flexibility. Whether that flexibility is needed to help the organization plot its next steps or realign talented individuals into roles that better suit business needs, the conversation between people and the organizations they work for are fast changing.

“I’ve noticed an uptick in personal investment in development within my own network with more and more individuals advancing their career goals through targeted training, non-traditional contract roles, or project work,” says Jenny Hill, Talent Development Leader at Sun Life Financial. “Many organizations are considering how they can better engage the talent they do have to access skills that might be underutilized. In some cases, this is preferred to sourcing external talent. The mindset shift is away from a rigid focus on maximizing performance in the current role, and more toward what would be the best possible way to engage our talent to advance the business and their career goals?  With this mindset, employees who are focused on their development are seeing more opportunities to grow within their own organizations and may be able to build a longer-term career with one organization, rather than advancing their career through roles with many organizations. “

READ: HR Leaders Provide Answers to Questions About Talent Management, Workforce Engagement and More

It goes without saying that people are less likely to move during a recession or times of uncertainty, but this is no time to slack on investing in people and creating dialogue with the talent you want but don’t currently have, whether leadership sees it internally or externally.

Looking back a few years ago, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) released surveys which revealed that the average cost-per hire was $4,129 given the effort that was put into the average hiring time of 42 days. The current landscape, between the saturated talent pool and the unbounding of talent along geographic lines, means that companies can solve their talent woes quicker and possibly more efficiently.

“Roles that would have been limited to fairly small geographic areas can now be open to a much larger talent pool, both internal and external,” Hill said. “Many employees are finding they are able to dedicate more time to reflection and development, now that they aren’t commuting. It’s starting to shift how we think about flexibility in working hours, even with roles that would have had minimal flexibility in the past.”

As many a talent leader has noted in 2020, there’s no going back. Organizational leadership can’t expect to simply close Pandora’s Box on something like remote work, contract offerings and increased flexibility that allows people to make their work fit with their life in new and improved ways.

COLUMN: The Price of Remote Work

“The pandemic has been a strong proof point that we can, in fact, work and live anywhere in the world and still be connected, engaged, and productive in our jobs,” says Bill Huffaker, Senior Vice President of Integrated Talent at Cerner Corporation. “With corporate headquarters “moving to the cloud”, we will need to rethink how we curate and deliver an engaging employee value proposition and experience. COVID-19 has also caused many of us to re-examine our motivation for work. We will need to reimagine how we foster a corporate culture that enables all employees to thrive across multiple dimensions (financial, career, social, and health).”

Hear more Bill Huffaker on day three of Talent Exchange! Click the link below to learn more. 

Photo Courtesy of Stock Photo Secrets

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