In the face of dynamic competition from digital disruptors and rapidly changing customer expectations, organizations can no longer afford to take a wait-and-see approach to transformation. They need to architect a clear talent transformation blueprint to power their digital strategy.
What are some of the things they need to keep in mind while doing so? How can they overcome the challenges in transformation and leverage data-driven technology to develop a deeper understanding of their employees and guide them towards more effective skilling and redeployment opportunities? In this exclusive interaction with us, Paul Bridgewater, APAC Regional Leader of pymetrics, who will be speaking at People Matters TechHR SEA 2021, throws light on these questions and how organizations can align talent management and talent acquisition strategies to drive the biggest business impacts
What are some things to keep in mind when organizations start architecting a clear talent transformation blueprint to power their digital strategy?
Start with data. As humans, our personal experiences and observations inevitably color our decisions. Data can help to challenge or validate our instincts about the skills we have in our workforce and provide clarity on the direction of change. But, the quality of the data matters.
“When it comes to transformation, it is vital that you are looking at future-facing indicators that provide more than a narrow, point in time view, as you don’t want to be making business-critical decisions based on outdated information.”
Soft skills data is one example of a multi-measured and evergreen dataset. Not only does it provide a more holistic view of the whole-talent by capturing their cognitive, social and emotional attributes, the data is also scalable across the whole talent lifecycle – from recruitment to development – so that HR can start to build a truly integrated people strategy.
Lastly, make sure you are able to turn that data into intelligence. For those of us who are not trained data analysts, the process can seem daunting, but using the right technology partner can help immensely. The three basic criteria to look for in a solution are 1) can it integrate with your existing talent systems 2) can it capture objective, quality data in an engaging manner and 3) does it provide actionable insights in an accessible and timely manner.
How can organizations leverage data-driven technology to guide their employees towards more effective skilling and internal mobility opportunities?
Use technology to provide personalized career guidance at scale. We have seen disruptors in other markets make use of AI to deliver personalized recommendations to great success: Netflix for content, Spotify for music, and Amazon for e-commerce. We need to apply that to talent development.
LinkedIn’s 2020 Workplace Learning Report showed that approximately 80% of employees desire course recommendations or developmental guidance based on their individual career goals or skills gaps, and 54% of employees would spend more time learning if they had specific recommendations.
Traditionally, high touch, impactful coaching is reserved for senior executives because of how expensive and time-consuming each session is. We are democratizing this tailored learning at pymetrics in a highly scalable way. For example, we recently released development reports for employees that are generated automatically the moment they complete the short series of gamified exercises. The report reveals each individual’s unique strengths and offers development areas custom to their workplace. The employee can take the insights to their managers to discuss opportunities outside of their current function. In turn, managers can coach more effectively knowing how the individuals’ skills and interests intersect with the business’s trajectory.
In this case, technology does not replace, but enables more constructive human conversations.
What are some of the challenges organizations are likely to face in their talent transformation journeys?
The first is the unpredictability of change. The pandemic is a crisis that blindsided many companies by its sheer force and speed, but there are other persistent factors including environmental concerns and technology advancements that are disrupting the where, how, and even why of work. Companies no longer have the luxury of years to transform their talent.
“Workforce planning will require real-time sense and respond capabilities as business needs evolve rapidly.”
Related to that challenge is the mindset. Comfort with familiar processes, coupled with complacency that what has worked in the past will keep working, will thwart the most meticulous transformation roadmap.
How can they get over these challenges to drive the biggest business impacts?
“To meet unpredictable change, companies need to have a truly agile internal talent strategy. In practice, this means being able to mobilize your existing workforce into new and different roles quickly and effectively, so that you are not subjected to the skills availability of the external talent market.”
Again, this underscores the value of measuring talent potential by soft skills, which are transferable across roles, rather than hard skills.
At pymetrics, we’ve seen how efficiently our clients have been able to reskill and redeploy large segments of their at-risk workforce to fill talent-short functions just by shifting the focus from past experiences to soft skill alignment. Although lacking in technical knowledge, these high-fit matches were nevertheless able to adapt to their new roles smoothly with proper training. Our Workforce Insights platform was further able to analyze this soft skills data to reveal the best way to train different teams and facilitate collaboration.
Mindset change is much harder to tackle, but not impossible. Leaders must cascade the broader business transformation objectives into team-level targets, then individual-level goals. Data can be a powerful story-telling tool. Combine data with personal narratives to reinforce how the changes have produced positive impacts. You should also be gathering feedback from your employees about the new processes, and communicating how you are addressing issues and concerns in set periods. Inspire trust by assuring your employees that there is a place for them in the digital future, and the company will commit to helping them find and prepare for it.
What would be your advice to align talent management and talent acquisition strategies to drive the biggest business impacts?
Streamline the techstack across your talent lifecycle.
Talent Acquisition and Talent Management ultimately share the same goal: to ensure the business has the right talent in the right place at the right time to drive growth. However, TA and TM functions in many organizations today have separate talent tracking, assessment, and analytics systems, which hinders decisive action and the ability to derive meaningful shared insight.
Retailers moving to an e-commerce model of business for instance often need to fill customer support and fulfillment center roles fast. Yet, instead of being able to lift and shift their physical store associates to meet the labor demand, the reality is often a widespread imbalance in the hiring and firing rates within a single organization. This happens because TA lacks visibility into the propensity of internal talent to be retrained, and TM lacks foresight on the skills demanded for external vacancies.
A well-executed talent blueprint should be able to give you a holistic view of talent from candidates to employees. While existing talent supplies the strong foundation for emerging functions, recruitment fills the remaining gaps with high-fit hires who can inject fresh perspectives into the business. Leaders may even deploy strategies supported by the data to deepen collaboration between old and new members of the team.
The key is not to leap at every new HR technology offered in the market, but to thoughtfully figure out what will add to creating a simplified and human experience.