One trend that will drive the 4th industrial revolution (4IR) will be the reinvention of leadership management. I believe that technology and talent expectations surge together. With advances in artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, robotics, the Internet of Things (IoT) and more, customers expect companies to deliver solutions quickly and promote collaboration across diverse teams, while meeting customer demands in the ever-changing business environment.
There is a shift from hierarchal leadership model to highly engaged teams, but what is driving this change? It is the need to improve organizational performance. Organizations are being forced to disrupt people planning and development due to changing talent and skills demanded by the industry. As we move away from traditional hierarchal leadership structure to highly complex matrix structure, skills required to manage agile teams and client needs are also changing. Today’s managers and leaders are expected to have complex problem-solving skills, critical thinking, experience with diverse team management, and most important, a mindset for navigating complexities of today and tomorrow. Diverse and agile teams are pushing the boundaries of leaderships with an expectation that today’s leaders must transform organizations to stay relevant, be competitive and should have excellent emotional intelligence (EI) competency to influence and guide their people towards opportunity and prosperity.
The shift in the world of technology is also forcing HR practices to evolve. Traditionally, companies planned their leadership succession on long term basis, where individuals were selected in advance to take on the most important leadership roles. Board of directors and HR members believed that they will develop crucial capabilities in time; hence the cycle of annual appraisals with four to five years of talent development planning for mid-senior leadership roles. However, we see this practice has often failed. By the time these positions reopen, industry needs would have changed, and hence companies find themselves turning towards talent available in the market.
Regardless of what stage of disruption in HR practices your organization is at, I believe that the following three key strategies will help you meet the needs of changing leadership landscape.
Focus on diversity, inclusion & sense of belonging
Diversity is defined differently in different countries, and gender equality is often a low-hanging fruit to track and fix. It is undisputed that higher the percentage of women in leadership roles, higher is the impact on organizational performance. Most firms are closing this gap by keeping gender in spotlight during their hiring drive. In the 21st century, we see companies also focusing on racial and ethnic diversity and commitment towards LGBTQ professional hiring and development. A survey of FTSE-listed board, by ‘the insights’ indicates that 1 in 16 FTSE 100 board members are from a black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) background.
While many companies have found the hack to maintain diversity, the challenge remains progress in developing the female executive pipeline. One way of addressing this can be, prioritizing diversity at C-suite, with the CEO championing the issue and integrating it with the company mission. According to World Economic Forum, based on the current pace of change, the gender gap will not fully close until the year 2186. As senior executives become the owners of this strategy, we see that they reach out to their network for help in finding the right talent or “like-minded” talent for key contributing roles within the organization. Hiring complete strangers may not necessarily work, hence we see CEO’s nudging their people to bring like minds from their network to join their workforce.
Use of future technology for targeted hiring
Predictive analytics-led solutions are reimagining smarter processes through constant assessment of incoming data and suggesting the right hiring channels and budgets for specific roles. As recently cited by Forbes in ‘Data Driven HR’, 52% of talent acquisition leaders say that the hardest part of recruitment is screening candidates from a large applicant pool. New technology can boost candidate assessment and makes talent sourcing efficient and intelligent. This provides recruiters with more time on hand, to spend towards meaningful interactions, which is important while hiring key contributors that impact organizational performance directly.
Cross industry and public-private collaboration
Businesses need to realize that, with increasing complexity and changing management needs, collaboration on talent issues becomes a key strategy. According to World Economic Forum insight report on Disrupting Unemployment: Business Led Solutions for Action 2015, government and industry partners were suggested to work more closely together and map future skills and employment needs. They can pool-in resources to upskill, train and fill high priority employment gaps together. Such multi-sector partnerships between business, education institutions and accredited providers leverage expertise of each partner and implement scalable solutions for job skill challenges of today and tomorrow.
I believe that these strategies will help organizations untangle complexities, like advances in technology, global competition, changing business partnerships and hiring pressure from stakeholders. While the implementation may differ from one organization to another, those who adopt novel and smarter ways of capturing and processing relevant individual data, especially emotional intelligence (EI) competencies, will certainly stay relevant in these changing times.