Workforce has undergone a drastic change amidst pandemic. There has been an immediate impact on organizational hiring, developing and retaining strategies. The Great Resignation was a phenomenon creating record breaking attrition. In November, 2021, 4.5 million employees quit their jobs and many of
them were not willing to take up any job despite of a staggering 10.6 million job openings available in the market. As rightly mentioned by the study in the “The Great Alignment”, employees aren’t quitting their job without any reason. They are looking for organizations that enable their future vision of career in work and life. A recent work study from workplace intelligence further shows this:85% of respondents are not satisfied with their employee because of lack of career support, and 88% said their meaning of success has changed since the pandemic. In such circumstances, holding on to talent and developing them becomes critical.
Talent development as a concept has gone through several changes and evolved over a period of time.
Talent development includes-
Identifying potential employees
Define their strengths and development areas
Determine a destination role for the talent along with the readiness level
Designing talent development initiatives to enable the succession pipeline and talent readiness
Talent development emphasizes on the planning, selection, implementation of development strategies for the talent pool to ensure that the organization has both the current and future supply of talent to meet strategic objectives of the organization.
Most of the organizations have an exclusive talent management strategy where the focus is on development of the star/ top talent of the organization. The top talent is usually identified through the talent reviews as well as performance/potential matrix and consist of 20% of the org. population.
Organizations have different purpose of developing and engaging with talent. Hence, several times there is a miss in looking at a bigger picture and why of putting a talent strategy in place.
What are the talent development needs of the organization?
Every organization has a different purpose while acting to this question. However, at the end of the tunnel the outcome expected is similar. The need for talent development in the organization can be manifolds-
To buy talent for critical roles
To build talent internally for critical or few identified (SME) roles
To borrow talent for specialized roles
Talent development needs are critical to the overall recruitment, assessment and retention processes of the organization. Buying talent from outside usually comes when either the role is too niche or specialized and too much cost is involved to develop the competency for the particular role. Buying talent also is considered as an option when organization is looking at diversity not with respect to gender but also in terms of ideas and thoughts.
The other need for talent development is to build talent internally. Its extremely critical to build a strong bench strength for critical roles or certain identified roles in the organization. There is a continuous need to facilitate succession planning and enable talent readiness to ensure building talent within the organization. Succession planning is not always upward. Succession planning is across-vertical as well as horizontal. Succession planning is a continuous process of building internal talent pipeline. Organizations are keen on building talent internally because internal talent knows the nuances and dynamics of the organization and has a strong cultural orientation towards the organization. While bringing someone from outside will need handholding and organizational context as well as orientation specially in critical roles. An internal talent from within can be up and running in the new role and is well aware of the organizational and cultural context.
Finally, organizations can look at few tasks or roles where they either outsource or get a consultant to get these niche tasks. In several organizations, a very specific training, complex analytics or AI related role for which having an in house resource might be too expensive or not required in long term is hired contractually or short term and might not have a long term requirement as per organization’s need. In that context, procuring a resource in a form of a consultant is always a cost effective option.
What are the key objectives of talent development process?
While organizations set a clear talent development process in place, it becomes significant for them to lay down the key objectives of talent development process.
Organization should have clarity of their purpose of developing talent, its impact and its overall contribution towards organizational performance. It’s important for an organization to determine the purpose of the talent development outcome.
The objectives are usually two pronged-
1. Identify critical roles and develop talent bench strength. There are few critical roles which are high stake for the organization and it becomes important to develop strong leadership pipeline by identifying the top talent for those roles. This will enable organization to strengthen their talent readiness for critical roles. This is more role backwards perspective.
2. Identifying top talent and developing them for larger roles- There is an annual talent review where organization engages into a process of identifying top talent of the organization and developing them to take larger roles/stretched roles/enterprise level roles across organization.
The developmental framework is customized to the developmental needs of the top talent. The need is to build leaders at an enterprise level and bring more fungibility in talent. The objective of identifying top talent and developing them is also to strengthen internal talent mobility. This will reduce the burden of external hiring and strengthen the internal talent pool of the organization.
How appropriate are competency models?
Competencies are here to stay. However, things are moving very fast. Organizations are becoming agile and literally living and dealing in VUCA every day. The skills are changing and there is a constant need of upskilling and reskilling. Hence, competency as a frame is important but there is a need to look at an interesting frame called Experience Maps. Experience Maps can be specifically looked at senior leadership roles within the organization. Experience Maps consist of varied experiences before taking any senior role within the organization. It goes beyond the job description and competencies. It is a sharp document after an insight and research with the incumbent on various experiences required to take on a particular role. This widens the horizon of the employee and develops oneself as an evolved and holistic leader.
What sequence of experience, exposure and education are appropriate for different categories of talent?
There needs to be high emphasis on accelerated talent development program through an intensive amalgamation of experience, exposure and education. Experience may come in a form of secondment, cross functional projects, turnaround projects. Exposure can be in the form of peer learning or opportunity to present in the internal, leadership forums as well as shadowing. Education is any structured program or external interventions. The other format of development which is also very critical for talent is coaching and mentoring. Mentoring by internal senior leaders also provide sponsorship to talent and provides them an opportunity to seek insight from a senior leader within an organization. Every talent has a different need and while we keep the frame of experience, exposure, education, mentoring and coaching in mind, it is important that the deployment of this framework depends on two factors.
1. The developmental area of the employee
2. The destination role identified for the employee
The deployment of the development process should be in alignment with the developmental area of the talent. While conceptually the ratio of experience, exposure and education is 70,20 and 10, however, it depends on the developmental need of the employee. Experience always provides a hands on learning and provides an opportunity to work across teams within the organization. Experience hence has a weightage of 70. One thing to be mindful is that education should not be dominating in the developmental plan because that is easiest to deploy.
Does the talent development architecture provide a time access and facilitate self-directed learning?
As organizations are moving towards digital technology, talent is a good space to leverage technology and AI. These days’ organizations are talking about providing employee experience through Talent Marketplace. Its technologically well-equipped and not limited to offering bite size anytime, anywhere learning. Talent market place is a unique and special HR platform where employee can look at his prospective career roles, explore developmental options, select mentor, courses, access his/her learning journey on the click of the button. This makes employee truly own their career as per their aspirations.
This is a software market and set of features or one can collaborate with specialized platform like GLOAT or Fuel 50. This interface is truly compelling where it can infer, analyze and understand the skills of each employee and help them know their fitment, develop their skills as per the future roles. This is truly agile and strategic. This also helps recruiters to find out the fit for the internal roles within the organization. This cannot only lead to self-learning but also create a culture of empowerment.
Talent development dynamics are changing in a big way. They are becoming personalized and significantly impacting the overall strategy of Talent Management. Organizations have now taken a bold move from planned mobility to facilitated mobility and now agile mobility. In order to make agile mobility a reality, talent development has to be strong and aligned with organizational strategy.