General Manager EMEA Saba Software
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A Changing Workplace: Rethinking Talent Management

19th Mar 2020
General Manager EMEA Saba Software
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There’s no doubt about it: our world of work is evolving at breakneck speed. Digital disruption and an explosion of technology is radically transforming the way we work. Talent is still in short supply and roles that didn’t even exist 10 years ago are becoming crucial to fill, yet there is an underlying fear that artificial intelligence (AI) means most of our jobs won’t be needed at some point in the future.

Summing these scenarios up, we’re in a chaotic place. But if we take a step back and consider the reality, we can uncover some proactive steps that will make the future of work a bit more inviting. Whilst we’re probably not all going to be replaced by robots, we do need to learn new skills to co-exist comfortably with automation and artificial intelligence. These skills include what used to be thought of as “soft,” but which global industry analyst Josh Bersin now calls “power skills.” Other skills include communication, management, creativity, insight and analysis. And let’s not forget skills such as the ability to adapt to new environments and to stay agile in an increasingly transformative organisation.

A changing world for humans – and their HR organisations
Alongside the digital transformation is a more human one. People want different things from their working lives such as flexibility, the chance to learn new skills, and often the ability to work more than a single job, or to run a passion project on the side. 

This is all leading organisations to rethink their talent strategies. How do you hire for a world that could fundamentally change in the next five years? How do you approach learning and development for your teams when you don’t know what jobs they’ll be doing in the future? And how do you balance all of this (or more importantly – incorporate it) with what your workforce wants from their careers?

A 20-year-old coming into the workplace for the first time today could well still be working in 50 years. Just think about that for a moment. If you look back 50 years to 1970, who would you have hired then that would have the skills you need today? 

Future-proofing through reskilling

We all upskill continuously, and often unintentionally – we learn new things, how to do new tasks, become better at our jobs and progress our careers. But talent leaders need to think more about reskilling – developing employees to adapt to a completely new environment and learn new skills. This might look like moving from a technical role that’s become automated into a service or management role, for example. Or perhaps learning to analyse data that the employee used to program in a previous role. 

This is the biggest talent challenge that talent leaders face today: how to ensure organisational capability through its people. The important skills for the organisation tomorrow may not be the same as they are today. One question that must be asked is how do you develop these new skills at scale? Do you create new roles and hire new talent into them or develop the skills in-house through upskilling and reskilling?  

Undoubtedly the most successful and “future-proof” organisations are those that are agile and able to respond rapidly to change. These organisations of the future will throw off onerous chains of command and become more collaborative. Employees who are preparing for the future workplace may focus on workplace culture, values, social connections and self-driven development.

Talent leaders need to rethink their strategies around engaging the talent in their organisation, and the talent they hope to attract in the future, so change shouldn’t be approached with stagnation. The keyword is ‘opportunity’. People want more than a job, they want to join an organisation that provides them the autonomy, flexibility and skill development that will allow them to make a difference and add real value.

 

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