With the changing business landscape in 2020, talent management too has been completely redefined. While the past year was marred by dynamic but long-lasting transformations, some trends have been more significant than others. Here they follow:
People and not performance-centric appraisals and feedback
The pandemic has encouraged a people-first approach and the ripple effects are also visible in how we look at performance management. At a time when our productivity metrics changed, organizations started to focus on the why and how of performance- why is an employee doing this right/wrong and how do we encourage them to do this even more efficiently. With goal-based working in its full fervour, constant, informal and personalised feedback is replacing performance with people.
Engagement metrics are changing
An important aspect of retaining talent is engaging employees. With hybrid working, employee engagement is not as easy as impromptu lunches or in-office events. While active engagement has become a more difficult task, it has also become more important as reinforcing culture across locations and time has to be planned.
Technology has fundamentally shifted how we work but it is up to organizations to use it to their advantage. Utilising collaborative software, expanding communications media, and opening up channels for two-way conversations have been some crucial ways to foster healthy engagement. It is also up to the leaders to ensure that this easy accessibility of technology does not translate into unwanted availability by reinforcing work-life boundaries via digital features like turning off notifications at a stipulated time or allowing employees to opt out of video calls to avoid zoom/screen fatigue.
Constant upskilling and reskilling
If there is one thing that the Pandemic has taught us, it’s that change is the only constant. organizations that aren’t moving ahead armed with new-age skills are not stationary, they are actually moving backwards. A strategic and dynamic L&D plan ensures that organizations are ready to develop employees and reinforce efficiency in operations.
Even before the Pandemic, the digital disruption was long anticipated. In 2017, the McKinsey Global Institute estimated that as many as 375 million workers—or 14 percent of the global workforce—would have to switch occupations or acquire new skills by 2030 because of automation and artificial intelligence. However, today the demand for AI is not to replace humans but rather to work alongside humans to make work efficient in all spheres. Apart from digital skills, critical thinking, complex problem-solving, managing people and stress, emotional intelligence, cognitive flexibility, and agility have also become equally important.
The Expanding Talent Pool
The so-called essential considerations of “proximity to the office, minimum years of experience and 9am-5pm availability” have given way to a more talent-focused recruiting. With remote working, organizations can hire people from all over the globe. A growing shift has been towards a gig economy where project-based or freelance work is enabling organizations to look at not the background, work experience, or full-time availability of the candidate but rather what they bring to the table and what value they can add to the organization.
As Jim Collins once said, “making the leap from good to great starts with getting the right people on the bus. Remote working and geographical flexibility have been an opportunity for both employees and organizations- organizations can effectively look at a larger talent pool and choose the best among the best while employees have a chance to work at their dream organizations by standing out through their skills or developing a powerful personal brand even if they don’t tick off the traditional hiring checkboxes. ”
A stronger case for diversity
An increasing emphasis on diversity and inclusion in hiring is a change that has been in the pipeline. This change has been facilitated by two factors. The first being feasibility which has been supported by remote working- organizations can now efficiently hire people living outside metropolitan cities, women from conservative families, people with special abilities, or people with familial restrictions among many other underrepresented groups. The second is an increasing awareness of social equities succeeded by an increasing commitment towards making the world a better place. Crisis offers clarity and, therefore, the pandemic sheds light on the existing inequalities and encourages organizations to understand their potential to do better.
The growing importance of Succession planning
Having a strong leader at the helm has never been more important than it has been in the Pandemic. Amid rising uncertainties, organizations understood both the need for planning and the impact of the right leadership. In the early months of 2020, when organizations rushed for emergency succession planning, the importance of thoughtful and sustainable planning became apparent.
Having the right person at the right place at the right time is integral.
Amidst these transformations, the question is no longer how to return to “normal” but rather how to evolve into a more dynamic, agile and empathetic work culture- how to face the new challenges while leveraging the positive transformations and learnings of the past year.