Article: Talent is an endangered species

Learning & Development

Talent is an endangered species

Regular gap analyses, knowing the talent profile and tailoring learning are some of the ways of winning the talent war
Talent is an endangered species

The war for talent is back. But this time, the way to win it isn’t by solidifying your employment brand or ramping up your recruiting machine. In fact, there are probably plenty of people aware of and even applying to your jobs. So why is it still so hard to find the right talent?

The battlefield is different now. According to the Corporate Leadership Council, two out of three CEOs identify the lack of the right skills as their biggest talent challenge. Grant Thornton International Business reports that talent shortages are dampening business growth around the world. According to industry estimates, there are 500,000 unfilled jobs in the IT sector in India due to the lack of the right talent to fill them and organizations are realizing the skills they need aren’t available to be bought on the market. The right talent has become an endangered species.

As work becomes more and more specialized, organizations need to get better at building their internal talent to ensure a consistent and capable pipeline of ready people for all of their most important jobs. Generic development programs delivered to the chosen few just aren’t enough to solve the talent scarcity problem. In order to successfully deliver your organization through the new war for talent, you need to:

Really know your organization’s talent profile: Almost every organization has some useful information about the talent of their workforce. Unfortunately, few of them know where this information exists or how to access it. And, very few have systems in place that help keep that information up to date and accurate. Typically, more than 75 per cent of organizations use more than three HR systems. Consolidating these systems often takes a significant investment of time and money, and generally yields less than half the expected benefits. However, you can get a comprehensive view of your people through a virtual system of record that integrates data, systems and processes from disparate HR and business applications to deliver a global view of your workforce, while eliminating the need for costly and risky consolidations. Such platforms are designed to integrate information from any system or third-party applications you already have, including popular cloud-based applications or multiple HRIS systems.

Perform regular gap analyses: Solving the talent scarcity problem and winning the new war for talent really boils down to balancing supply and demand. Organizations that regularly examine the gaps between what talent exists in the organization and what talent the organization needs are able to more successfully react to changing business conditions and see significantly better results on many important people metrics, including productivity, engagement, and internal promotions.

Provide tailored learning opportunities to grow capabilities: The hard part is what comes next – doing something about the gaps. People are different, even if they work in the same organization at the same job. But most organizations’ training and development programs, when they exist at all, are still one-size-fits-all. And some organizations are hesitant to offer comprehensive development programs to all employees for fear of distracting them from their current job duties. Best of the breed applications use context and pervasiveness to enable organizations to provide people with tailored learning opportunities to grow their individual capabilities and increase their readiness. Instead of forcing your employees to figure out what actions they should take to close skill and capabilities gaps, such applications provide specific recommendations based on their profile, your organization’s needs, and proven activities from other successful employees.

Incent managers to highly prioritize internal talent mobility: Most managers are incentivized primarily, if not solely, on what their organizations accomplish, and don’t receive much recognition for enabling their people to find new jobs in new departments. Current research by the Bureau of Labor Statistics points out that younger workers now change jobs every 1.8 years. If your organization isn’t incentivizing managers to grow talent on behalf of the organization and help them move into positions outside of their purview, your best people are likely looking to leave. By measuring and incentivizing your managers on their ability to be stewards of talent for the organization, you can ensure your best talent is always in your most important roles. 

The external talent market can no longer consistently provide organizations with the specialized talent they need to sustain operations and create competitive advantage. Internal development programs are often too generic or limited to be effective. By following these four steps, you can solve talent scarcity, increase employee engagement, and win the new war for talent.

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Topics: Learning & Development, Skilling

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