By: Mar Guerrero-Busquets, Associate Vice President Employee Experience, Employer Brand, & Performance Culture at TD Bank Group
A fast-paced competitive environment; technological advances; everything “real time”; globalization; an increasingly unpredictable future; constantly changing customers’ and employees’ attitudes and expectations…these are some of the reasons why organizations require a more flexible and impactful Talent Management strategy that maximizes the potential of the entire workforce and deploys its talent more effectively than ever before.
This and other themes are at the top of the priority list for many HR departments:
1) Culture and Employee Engagement. With only 13% of workers worldwide “engaged” (Gallup), Talent Management needs to be more than a collection of integrated people processes. If you want to create an environment that truly gets the best out of people, then you must define your culture, ensure that the employee experience lives up to it, and that the right behaviors are supported, recognized, and reinforced in every interaction.
Communication has become a key skill in Talent Management. Employees are no different than consumers, and in the consumer space we are taught the importance of capturing emotions. So if we want to capture an employee’s attention and inspire them to be their best version, we also need to appeal to their emotions. Unlocking the potential of every employee and igniting their passion at work is the new goal.
2) Leadership. Knowledge workers’ motivation is fueled by two key elements: purpose and autonomy. Research shows that people who feel empowered and energized by their manager are much more productive and engaged. Organizations want to grow leaders who energize and rally their people behind a goal and give their jobs meaning and purpose.
Leadership ability is a much greater determinant in selecting candidates for roles and people are no longer promoted on the basis of their technical ability alone. So the strategic focus on leadership is even stronger than before, including:
- Leadership development. In high growth companies, 30% of leadership positions are already held by Millennials (DDI). Companies support the development of their leaders through a variety of ways, such as ongoing coaching, training, and other initiatives like reverse mentoring e.g. a seasoned leader mentors a Millennial on people management skills and the Millennial leader mentors him/her on new technologies. There is an added benefit: to strengthen relationships across the organization.
- Temporary assignments outside the organization (often in a different industry), fostering the leaders’ connection with outside thinking and trends, and keeping them engaged, learning and growing, without having to leave the company.
- Shortening the time to productivity in leadership transitions, managing executive onboarding in a carefully planned and systematic way for external hires, and internal moves that set the leader up for success. Two of the high-impact/low-investment actions include assigning a buddy to the new leader and the new leader assimilation session.
- Definition and identification of high potential employees based on the skills that will be required in 5-10 years time. A fundamental one is learning agility, which some argue it is linked to humility. People who are curious, see every experience as a learning opportunity, are open to different viewpoints, and do not feel threatened if their teams challenge their direction. Challenging assumptions (even if they’re your bosses’) is the starting point of innovation.Growth and development is at the core of successful Talent Management and a given when it comes to attracting and retaining talent. According to Glassdoor, 46% of Millennials left their last job due to lack of career growth.
3) Make things (learning, change, behaviors…) stick. Snapchat claims the lifespan of their messages is limited to just 10 seconds, whereas in the workplace, we expect the overwhelmed employee to absorb and retain increasing amounts of information, processes and behaviors, put them in practice and sustain them over time, which is proving challenging for organizations.
When it comes to Learning & Development, bite-sized learning, integration before and after the learning event, and application to put the learning into practice are key. Some organizations are leveraging MOOCs like Lynda.com from their corporate intranet, further diluting the barriers between the employee’s life inside and outside the organization.
4) Performance management moves away from lengthy processes, forms, and ratings. The focus shifts from backward-looking evaluation to coaching and development, which results in a better employee experience and higher engagement. One of the biggest benefits of this change is that it fosters a learning mindset. Employees can be more open about their knowledge gaps and coaching needs without fearing that it will work against them in the rating. Crowdsourcing feedback from a variety of stakeholders (managers, project members, cohorts, matrix managers, direct reports, etc.) allows for a comprehensive picture of the employee’s strengths and opportunities.
5) Team effectiveness. One of the most untapped sources of organizational speed and agility is effective teamwork. In an increasingly networked workplace and a hyper-connected world, Talent Management should also focus on the work unit within the organization: the team. Team interventions align people’s efforts to the team’s goal, clarify roles and responsibilities, build trust, and result in higher engagement and sustained performance. It can also prove to be a lever to shape the organizational culture and drive change faster. On the other hand, ineffective teamwork is a drain on productivity, morale, and competitiveness.
Bringing it all together…
Talent Management is evolving to be a broader function that maximizes the contribution of the entire employee base, mobilizes talent quickly, encourages them into roles that play to their strengths, and fosters an environment where employees feel more engaged and where they can add more value, faster.