We all know how prominently talent development figures – or should figure – in your organization’s growth strategy. A recent UNLEASH webinar with Reejig’s Jonathan Reyes and Lighthouse Research’s Ben Eubanks aimed to look at the mindset needed for success, as well as investigating some of the barriers that businesses face when trying to be more people focused. And, it was all done with one eye on Reejig’s ‘Zero Wasted Potential’ initiative.
To kick us off, Reyes asked a question which put the initiative into context; how do you create a cycle of sustainability for your talent? In a world where hiring announcements are a dime a dozen, how can you “get the best from your existing workforce, how can you nurture them, and create fairer, more equitable talent practices? It’s not a zero sum game.”
Eubanks agreed: “It’s the opposite of a zero sum game. It’s a prerequisite.”
To set the scene, they looked at current enterprise challenges:
- Siloed people systems and data.
- No view of the skills and potential of the workforce.
- Unrealized areas for automation to reduce costs.
- Disengaged employees.
This last one feels significant, and a shocking fact corroborates it: 80% of all talent moves in the last decade have been external, as per McKinsey data.
There are ways forward though, as Reyes outlined, with the tools and skills needed to mobilize your talent:
- 100% visibility to the workforce.
- A dynamic skills ontology.
- Empowered employees.
Eubanks mentioned a great concept, the idea of “the compound interest of a great employee”. Essentially, the idea that a great employee is more than the sum of their parts and their benefit to the organization grows exponentially as they develop – which led him to ask: “when someone joins your company, does trust need to be given or does it need to be earned?” Managers would say it needs to be earned; employees? Not so.
But the fact is this: people related responsibilities are being ignored in many companies. Management skills need to be recognized and measured for them to be effective.
As the webinar hit the home straight our speakers looked to the future, and addressed a few inarguable truths:
- Jobs are changing as we know it.
- Skills are also rapidly evolving.
- Development is experiential.
“Doing nothing is not a solution. But your people have a limit on how much change we can put on them before they burn out,” warned Eubanks. The secret is in the license to experiment, according to Jonathan Reyes: “I think it’s really important to try and fail, try and fail, and try and fail,” and also adopting a mindset of iteration, as “agile methodologies are important to adopt in human capital, even if it doesn’t come naturally.”
Soundbite of the day belongs to Reejig’s Reyes with his belief that “skills will be the language of the future in the new dictionary of work.” – but it’s up to managers to do the relevant signposting.
“When there’s more transparency around opportunity, there’s more interest in opportunity,” noted Eubanks, and he’s right – it’s of paramount importance for organizations to communicate the lateral moves your workforce can make, the training opportunities available, and the cross skilling opportunities too.
After the future gazing, we finished by looking back with one final question: If you could go back in time in your HR career, what would you do differently?
“I would spend more time with leaders and managers and prioritize the talent-related work more,” said Eubanks. “Be less task orientated and more vision orientated”. Reyes highlighted the need for collaboration saying he would “share problems and develop more partnerships”.
It’s an HR tech world but it’s done driven by people and sometimes, the people bit is the hardest. As Eubanks concluded: “The most difficult part of anyone’s job isn’t using tech. It’s behavior change.”
You can watch the full webinar on-demand here.
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