Your talent management challenge after Covid
Constantly changing possibilities require more flexible and people-oriented systems
Covid has changed many business systems, but it has also raised many doubts about traditional approaches to talent management. Some companies became agile, tech savvy, and helped their talents contribute. However, this often happened despite, and not because of, outdated talent management approaches.
Today’s leaders need to be careful as we approach the next normal. The temptation to revert to old talent management approaches is a mistake.
Talent management is lagging behind. At my company, the personnel and hiring plans fell out of the window with the pandemic. What it replaced evolved several times as conditions and restrictions changed. The experience taught me some valuable lessons about talent systems.
My people couldn’t work like they used to. They were challenged to develop new products and work in new ways. For example, some of my trainers became keynote speakers and talk show / podcast moderators. They used adjacent and unexpected skills. By discovering what skills we had – and not knowing we had them – we found new ways in which they could contribute.
In the midst of the pandemic, we have given up on many old talent systems. They weren’t agile enough. Although this was relatively easy in a medium-sized company like mine, it indicated a future of speed, transparency and critical roles rather than career paths. People instead of system-oriented thinking have become indispensable.
HR managers must now consider how talent management systems can help companies. In the past we reserved talents for specific roles or opportunities. Constantly changing possibilities today require more flexible and people-oriented systems.
The future is “our” not “mine”: Many larger companies face the challenge of using their talents more effectively. Many talent systems have been set up in carefully guarded silos. This approach creates blind spots and duplication, missed opportunities and slow responses. Existing competence pools that are not urgently needed in one business area can be life-threatening in another.
Some experts want to replace isolated approaches with talent marketplaces. This is a great description and idea. Your talents can “sell” as they can help a much larger part of your organization. However, the mindset of leaders needs to change.
Once the executives in my organization knew who could help with what, they quickly learned how to reach and develop who they needed. By making the current opportunities and organizational challenges public, talents could emerge and say: “I want to help.”
It was far from perfect, but it did show what the future system might look like. My executives soon learned to avoid “their talent” in order to work elsewhere. The focus was on flexibility, growth, learning and experience.
Where to start Make talent discoverable and help them discover where they are needed. You need a clear idea of all the skills and abilities that are available to you. This includes those you’ve hired for and those who may give you unexpected benefits.
I advise you to only look beyond your full-time employees. Businesses need to look at all of their contributors, part-timers, gigs, partners, etc. Make sure you don’t leave talent on the table. Look at previous employees. This diverse group can fill in gaps and contribute in unexpected ways.
In my organization we have a large group that we call professional talents. They are moderators who are not looking for full-time positions, but are nonetheless equal members of our family. They have their passions and interests. During the crisis we called on them to bring in points of view and perspectives that we did not have.
When we lost people to the crisis, talented people who left years ago stepped in to fill critical gaps or provide much-needed skills. None of this would have been possible without our very rudimentary marketplace.
Find a way to understand the features you will need next. Once you know what you have, you can pinpoint your immediate priorities. Notice how previous experiences can contribute to your future needs. Are you finding new sources of talent that you’ve never thought of before?
I have a team of young college graduates who joined us during the pandemic. You have little experience between them. What they have are insights and methods to open up completely new perspectives. Since we penetrated new fields during the crisis, we were able to overcome the lack of relevant experience with careful moderation. They helped to get a clear picture of the requirements of the next step and released other talents elsewhere.
When to start Now is the perfect time to rethink your strategy, systems and approaches for the next talent management team. I can’t predict the future, but it can’t look like the past.
Arinya Talerngsri is Chief Capability Officer and Managing Director at SEAC – the center for lifelong learning in Southeast Asia. She can be reached by email at [email protected] or https://www.linkedin.com/in/arinya-talerngsri-53b81aa. Talk to us about how SEAC can help your company in times of uncertainty at https://forms.gle/wf8upGdmwprxC6Ey9