One of the biggest recent changes in workforce dynamics is the shift toward employee empowerment and this, in turn, now informs so much of business strategy – not least talent development.
We know, both anecdotally and through data analytics, that employees want a career development plan and the opportunity to learn new skills. This can translate to lateral moves within an organization, not just upwards, let’s not forget.
But, regardless of the direction of an employee’s move, skills is the common theme here. For Deutsche Post DHL Group, centering their talent strategy around skills hasn’t just succeeded because they know it’s what their employees want, it’s also unearthed a few hidden interests, insights and HR easter eggs.
In this session from the learning and skills breakout area that very quickly became standing room only, Meredith Wellard, VP of Group Talent Acquisition, Learning and Growth, revealed the surprising truth about what happens when you implement a career marketplace and skills-based learning initiatives. That said, Wellard is quick to underline skills fit as well as culture fit, when she said, “I don’t think it’s a challenge getting more people into companies, it’s about getting the right skills”
Skills and culture
In an extension of her interview with UNLEASH published recently about the importance of skills in securing talent and improving culture, Wellard also highlighted the importance of investing in your people at a more personal level. Sometimes, it’s not just about performance directly in your role – as Wellard emphasised: “Employees learning personal skills is a way of engaging them in the organisation.”
Again, it comes back to culture. Businesses showing that they invest in their people holistically are the ones that will succeed; knowing that you’re the employer that sees the person beyond their job role and understands what they value could be that differentiator that improves your talent retention.
But, despite Wellard’s comment that your skills strategy “isn’t the answer to everything”, we know it’s something that’s come into sharper focus of late.
In essence, a skills-led talent strategy could be the great leveller that businesses need, focusing more on performance, ability and productivity than ever before. If I was to offer a personal takeaway it’s that not enough organizations encourage their employees, both engaged and disengaged, to look sideways rather than down or outwards. It could be that your employee’s next career move is less obvious than they think.
Hopefully DPDHL’s philosophy will turn organizations’ tendency for introspection into something more positive for their employees.