6 Talent Management Considerations for Tomorrow's Workforce
Talent management: today’s marketplace has made it more important than ever for organizations to pay close attention to those two words. In our increasingly technocentric, globally-oriented business environment, how you acquire, manage, and maintain your talent pool has a quantifiable impact on your business’s ability to innovate, adapt, and remain competitive. A strategically-minded, forward-thinking approach to hiring and retaining talented employees isn’t enough; you need to build an environment that produces passionate, engaged, results-driven brand evangelists within your organization. Here are 6 tips for improving your talent management strategy in 2014 and beyond.
1. Put Culture First
Your talent management strategy should be aligned to your company’s culture. Why? Because your company’s culture, now more than ever, is the definitive foundation to attracting and retaining talent -- especially among millennials. PricewaterhouseCoopers, a multinational professional services firm, recently released a global generational study on the values of millennials in the modern workplace. According to the study, by 2016, 80% of the PwC global workforce will be comprised of millennials. While this number may not be as high in your organization, what does that mean for your talent management plan? Your business could benefit from aligning with changing value systems -- milennials Value:
- Work/Life Balance
- Flexible Work Schedule
- Collaborative/Cooperative Environment
- Professional Support
- Development Opportunity
- Recognition/Appreciation of Contributions
- Engaging Work
While these points are especially important among millennials, according to the study non-millennials share many of the same values.
What to Do
Do a culture audit: ask yourself what your organization’s values are, and what values your organization desires in its employees. Build your team based on those core principles. Culture is about more than amenities and company events; it is how your company describes itself, and how your employees explain the work they do, understand organizational objectives, and perceive themselves within the team. To begin your audit create an anonymous survey that addresses these basic questions:
- Does the company value the work you do?
- Is open communication encouraged?
- Is your job challenging?
- Are you satisfied with your existing benefits? Are they competitive?
- Are you satisfied with your compensation?
- Do you understand your role within the company?
- Do you know what to expect when you come to work?
- Do your values align with the company’s core values?
2. Hire for the Future
It's important to take a long view when implementing a new hiring strategy. Don’t just hire to fill open seats or to address current needs. In today’s constantly changing business environment, it’s important to hire employees with T-Shaped skillsets so that you have a pool of multi-focused professionals to address industry shifts and technological advances.
What is a T-Shaped Employee?
The T-Shaped employee is someone with a skillset that covers the widest possible breadth of knowledge across many coinciding disciplines, and deep knowledge and experience in one discipline (or a small handful).
Why Are T-Shaped Employees Important?
Teams of employees with overlapping skillsets are able to operate more effectively and solve problems more creatively than teams where only one individual may have knowledge about a particular topic. This model also relieves the stress of placing too many of your company’s eggs in a single employee’s basket. This doesn’t mean that everyone should be able to do anyone else’s job. It does mean that your team’s agendas and objectives will never be held captive by the absence of a single employee. It also means that you’ll have a steady backlog of capable candidates to fill leadership openings, and the flexibility to shift individual roles as the organization reorients over time.
3. Optimize Your Current Talent Pool
Take stock of your organization’s current talent situation: identify chronic low-performers, and those who are in roles that don’t suit them. Once you’ve identified your underperformers, find out why they’re not meeting standards and make adjustments accordingly. Is it due to ineffective management, poor training, or limited departmental resources? You can find out a lot through monthly anonymous surveys. There are plenty of lightweight solutions for surveying your employees, like TINYpulse. A team member who is unable/unwilling to pull their weight will zap your organization’s cohesion and bring down morale. So can a lack of strategic workplace planning -- it can be a real culture killer. As an employer, it’s up to you to provide the tools, the guidance, and the professional resources your employees need to perform at optimal capacity. This includes making sure the right people are in the right seats at the right time.
4. Knock Down Silos
Don’t build walls around your employees -- interdepartmental efficiency, and employee satisfaction depend on openness. Creating a unified workforce of fully engaged professionals requires free and open exchange of information and ideas. To encourage collaboration, make organizational data about individual experience, interests, and skills available to both management and staff. Evaluate and reward your employee’s based upon their ability to operate as a team, not solely upon individual performance. You will have a stronger, happier team when collaboration is a core value.
5. Build a Central Knowledge Base
Stop forcing your managers and staff members to repeat themselves. Document everything--processes, policies, procedures, everything--and place the information in an easy-to-access, centralized location, like a company wiki. This will be command central for every member of your organization. You can even use it to post company bulletins, promotions, organizational changes, and information about upcoming company events and holidays. You can also set up company cloud systems for sharing documents, spreadsheets, and visual assets using services like Google Drive and DropBox.
6. Allow for Personal/Professional Development
Provide opportunities for your employees to grow personally and professionally. You can do this through continuing education programs, lunch-and-learn activities, and access to resources libraries like Skillsoft.