Article: The treasure of a nation is the talents of its people

C-Suite

The treasure of a nation is the talents of its people

Dr. Wayne F. Cascio, in his recent travel to India to film the Aditya Birla Group CSR initiatives in collaboration with SHRM Foundation, talks to People Matters about the different competencies that organisations will need in the future across the world
 

There is a shift from the Train- Supervise-Retain format to a Participe & Partner approach, where the use of use social media and other Web 2.0 tools are integrated into the working culture

 

Dr. Wayne F. Cascio, in his recent travel to India to film the Aditya Birla Group CSR initiatives in collaboration with SHRM Foundation, talks to People Matters about the different competencies that organizations will need in the future across the world

What are the changes in the macro scenario that are affecting talent management practices?
Firstly, across the world we are seeing a worrisome skills gap; this is true for India and also for the US. The American Society for Training & Development (ASTD) conducted a survey in 2009 and its data shows that as much as 79% of 1200 respondent said skills of the current workforce do not match the changes in company strategy, goals, markets, or business models. The study predicts that by 2015 there will be 60% of jobs that will require skills currently possessed by only 20% of the population.
Secondly, globalization has now become a reality as it affects every person across the world. Access to affordable labor and plentiful resources, combined with ease of travel and communication, has created global labor markets. This reality affects every organization regardless of its size. As a consequence, labor will also become more mobile, 500 million people (double the number today) will legally work outside their home country in the next 20 years and that will require greater focus on developing inter-cultural skills, flexibility and adaptability.
Thirdly, demographic and sociological changes will lead to a rise of the middle class in developing countries to such an extent that by 2015, the number of consumers in Asia’s middle class will equal those in Europe and North America combined. Emerging economies will become a very important market for its local consumption potential.

How have people’s expectations changed?
People’s expectations have changed dramatically; employees today want opportunities for continuous learning, they want to be rewarded differently for high performance, they want opportunities to work internationally and finally, they want flexibility in the way work is performed.
The generation born between years 1977 and 1997 has re-defined the workplace. They have advanced skills in 3 areas that are revolutionizing work – digital technology, interactive media, and collaboration tools. They need to leverage on these skills at their work; and hence, other ways of engagement and development are required from their managers. There is a shift from the Train-Supervise-Retain format to a Participe & Partner approach, where the use of use social media, virtual reality, and other Web 2.0 tools are integrated in the learning process and into the working culture.

What traits will the new workforce require, going forward?
Employees will need high levels of adaptability and personal initiative.
Adaptability, defined in its complete scope includes handling emergencies or crisis situations, handling work stress, solving problems creatively, dealing with uncertain/unpredictable work situations, learning work tasks, technologies, and procedures, demonstrating interpersonal adaptability, cultural adaptability and physically oriented adaptability.
Personal initiative, reflected in being self-starting and proactive in one’s work behavior that makes the person persistent in overcoming barriers to order to achieve a goal. This trait is very important to produce outcomes like innovation, entrepreneurship, and outstanding work performance. An easy way to measure personal initiative is to ask the candidate: tell me what would you do if a colleague continually produced shoddy work that caused additional work for you? As he/she suggests solutions, ask the person if this does not work what would you do, this question is then repeated until the candidate runs out of ideas. This gives you a hint on the capacity to think creatively, and the level of energy in overcoming challenges to achieve the desired result.


Dr. Wayne F. Cascio is the Robert H. Reynolds Chair in Global Leadership at the University of Colorado Denver Business School and a senior editor of the Journal of World Business
 

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