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The Power of Talent Mobility Decisions

As we talk about talent mobility, we can’t just assume that employees are adapting as well.

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@luca.mara via Twenty20

Unleash Your CuriosityFind out how you can use data, science and experience to increase the speed and accuracy of your talent mobility decisions.

  • Empowered people can be enablers of organizational transformation
  • Data, science, and experience can be combined through technology to guide real-time talent mobility decisions
  • Organizations must focus on enabling flexibility as well as precision when identifying talent potential

Achieving alignment between talent and company purpose is one of the most defining organizational challenges of our time but it is one that many companies still don’t feel ready to conquer.  

Yet our decentralized, digital world provides a great opportunity for organizations to reshape their approach to talent mobility decisions for good. With a new toolkit of data and insights, HR can gain a clear understanding of the real-time status of their businesses, have a comprehensive view of the opportunities and the risks, and ultimately know which levers to pull in order to unleash organizational potential through talent mobility.

Data leveraged through technology, not only provides accurate, objective insight but it enables organizations to model new and emerging scenarios, giving them the resilience and readiness needed to succeed. Already we are seeing organizations seize this opportunity by using these new insights to experiment with re-deploying individuals, teams, and tasks to other opportunities within their broader ecosystem.

The role of HR is moving from being drivers of transformation to curators, becoming the businesses’ most critical lever. This was the topic of discussion at a recent UNLEASH webinar, held in partnership with SHL. The session lifted the lid on how organizations can identify potential talent by focussing on enabling flexibility as well as precision when preparing for the unique challenges ahead.  

Below are just a few themes that were addressed. 

It is time to give up the quest for constant alignment, ‘moments of alignment’ is enough. 

Brandon Pleaner, talent management solutions leader at SHL, spoke about how HR is reaching for something impossible if they are aiming for their talent to always be aligned with their organizational needs and purpose.  

“The idea that we are always going to be aligned with an organization is one that’s probably less than accurate,” Pleaner said. “So, it’s about using technology and data to increase moments of alignment that we can then leverage in order to drive the purpose that our people experience to create a thriving organization.” 

Could unrealistic expectations be the Achilles’ heel of organizations? After all, if we are to truly recognize organizations for what they are — dynamic, evolving ecosystems — then surely, the concept of constant alignment between talent and goals is redundant? Perhaps we would be better off if we focussed on maximizing these ‘moments of alignment’ which can be achieved with the right technology. 

For context, SHL’s Mobilize is a complete talent mobility solution for accurate, immediate, and agile decision-making. With assessments and insights all in one platform, Mobilize harnesses the Power of Context to increase the accuracy of leadership mobility by four times.  

As part of the end-to-end solution, Mobilize aligns and develops high potentials and leaders with insight into group and individual strengths and weaknesses. 

HR must let go of being the one who makes all the decisions and instead empower your employees to make them themselves. 

During the webinar, the panellists shared a poll to find out who leads talent related decisions in organizations. Sarah McLellan, director, European professional services at SHL, was particularly interested to see that the results showed that only 6% of the audience felt their employees played a central role in driving talent management decisions.  

“We are seeing that leaders are having to move away from what were siloed views on talent and, pre-defined strategies when we had the luxury of talking about three-to-five-year strategic plans,” McLellan commented. “Today, we are talking about the next three to five months because of the sheer volume of disruption.”  

To keep pace, HR needs to shift its focus to how it can make employees feel connected to new roles and opportunities within their organization and empowered to make decisions. HR needs to let go of being the one who makes all the decisions and instead see its role as the function that provides access to information about new roles and the opportunities to develop new skills and grow.  

“What we are looking for from the organization is opportunities to develop new skills, to try out opportunities, to build trust, to feel empowered to step into new and different roles,” McLellan added.  

Is it time HR stops pressurizing itself to be the driver of transformation and instead focus on enabling the employees to be the drivers themselves?

Less focus on decision making requires more focus on employee empowerment 

Zani Mashinini, an independent human resources professional, with experience working as a practitioner for many multinationals, expressed her concern over whether we’ve confused the employee as we’ve shifted our approach to talent management.  

Employees have become used to HR coming up with policies that advocate for certain ways of approaching workforce decisions. As HR begins to let go and pass the decision on to the employee, they need to make sure that the employee is empowered to make those decisions for themselves.  

“We’re saying to people ‘look at portfolio careers, look at multiple career paths’ and I am wondering whether we have to do more work to enable individuals to make those kinds of independent decisions,” Mashinini commented.  “We know we’ve got the tools, but I think more work has to be done to empower individuals to make those relevant choices for themselves and their career.”

The employee is critical to the success of the talent management shift. As we talk about mobility and the evolving open marketplace, we must be very careful we don’t just assume that the employees are adapting as well.

In order to truly empower our people, Mashinini spoke about how HR needs to focus on democratizing data and information so that tools and technology are easily available to employees to support their career choices.

“I think it’s very clear that talent management now isn’t about fixed decision plans, it’s about how do we make the skills available when they are needed to solve the problems that have been identified by an organization at any point in time,” said Mashinini. “Visibility and accessibility of information are important so that we know what are those skills that we need are available.”

We are living and working in a climate of change, where almost every job is changing irrevocably, and most of the workforce is being forced to adapt to new roles to remain relevant. Never before has it been so important that employees are ready and empowered to take on new roles and develop new skills. 

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