Unprecedented market realities mean that organizations have had to hit “reset” and reframe their traditional ways of working. More and more companies are embracing digital collaboration and productivity platforms, in order to reinvent their business models and ultimately become more agile.
It’s clear that technology is a key element of a company’s competitive advantage – and this includes where talent is concerned. Implemented, rolled out and used correctly, the right HR technology can help transform your business for the better: to pivot when things (inevitably) change, ensure the right people are in the right roles, and deliver dynamic workforce plans.
But achieving total talent agility isn’t easy, and there are three areas worth careful consideration as you look at applying technological transformation to your talent processes.
The Human Element
Any successful transformation and change initiative requires an initial “emotional” connection. People play a pivotal role when organizations face uncertainty; it is human beings, after all, that you are hoping to be able to reskill or redeploy as the market and business needs demand.
When you deploy new technology to enable your more agile approach to talent, don’t forget to bring people along with you on the journey.
It is critical to recognize and understand the unique attributes, intuitions, needs, and capabilities of individual employees – as part of the change management process, and beyond.
Holistic Skills Visibility
In a very fluid market environment, you need full and clear visibility of the skills you actually have inside the organization. This represents, for most, a new way of looking at talent: going beyond a job title or even job description to the true skills, interests and potential of the workforce in front of you at any given moment.
This visibility becomes critical in uncertain times, because it enables organizations to adapt quickly to changing demands – whether internal or external.
They can spot skill gaps and areas for improvement, facilitating targeted upskilling, reskilling and development programs, and optimizing workforce allocation based on the evolving needs of the business.
Having a clear understanding of the skills available within the organization also helps in identifying potential candidates for new roles or project assignments. It promotes internal mobility and talent development, which, in turn, enhances employee engagement and productivity.
Connecting People To Opportunities
The old approach to assigning people to jobs is the enemy of true talent agility.
You must focus on, and emphasize, the creation of career opportunities that go beyond traditional job roles and hierarchical structures, in order to pivot rapidly and capitalize on market opportunities.
Can you connect your workforce with learning opportunities, mentors, gigs or projects that help them move forward in their careers? Can you help them visualize their potential career at your company?
Engaged employees, who feel that their career aspirations are supported, tend to be more committed, innovative, and productive.
Connecting people to such opportunities – and making it easy to ‘self-serve’ in this regard – also encourages continuous learning and adaptability, enabling employees to stay agile and responsive in the face of quick technological evolution and business model shifts.
Consider the career path of the 50,000+ mechanics at my previous company, Boeing. A mechanic’s career path was, at one stage, heavily tied to tenure – essentially the passage of time. This caused a lot of frustration and disengagement, and didn’t help the company when it came to planning for changing market conditions.
By shifting to a skills-based approach, and moving away from using only tenure as the ‘currency’ for promotions, they actually drove a spike in productivity. The incidents of poor work and mistakes fell rapidly, and mechanics became more engaged and less likely to leave.
True talent agility requires organizations to prioritize the human factor, understand the skills and capabilities of their employees throughout their lifecycle, and create meaningful career opportunities (and make those connections easy) in order to boost engagement and productivity in times of uncertainty and change.
By doing this, leaders can build a more resilient, adaptable, and productive workforce, capable of thriving, while future proofing wider business success.