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HR and Talent Management trends of the digital age

BY: SGI|10 September 2019
BLOG| Evolving world of work

Imagine an algorithm that reads a team’s anonymised Slack and email messages to gauge its overall mood and sentiment. As HR, you get sent the results and see lots of sad-face emojis emerge, so you know it’s time to proactively evolve talent management and the employee experience.


As the world of work evolves, there’s extreme pressure on HR and leadership teams to evolve talent management at an unprecedented pace. Agility has become a buzzword, with an iterative, ‘fail-forwards-fast’ approach advocated for nimbleness. In the world of talent, a similar agility is called for; one that embraces technology, continuous learning ecosystems, and predictive modelling.


There’s no doubt that every aspect of HR is changing – from how talent is recruited to how people are trained, retained and rewarded. With most employees seeking to find meaning and purpose through a business that champions their personal growth and mission to make a difference to the world, HR plays a vital part in building a business that’s a force for good. And a place where learning and development are not only possible, but pivotal.


And HR teams form part of the talent needing opportunities to grow. This is where HR courses can be key to help human resources teams to gain the confidence and insight to move forwards capably in the workplace of tomorrow. Without an evolved HR capability, companies may not be able to recruit top talent, might lose valuable people and fail to fill the vital roles of tomorrow, today, leaving big gaps down-the-line.


Here are some of the interesting talent management trends HR teams need to be cognisant of:


1. Faster and faster feedback:

Many companies are shifting away from the traditional ‘annual review’ format to a model that gives continuous upwards, downwards, sideways (all-ways) feedback, that’s agile and AI-powered. This is negatively taken to the extreme at Amazon, where workers are tracked in real-time via an automated tracking and termination process. This measures productivity, including the length of breaks between scanning packages. Too long a break means an automatic warning.


Moving away from this extreme, several businesses are now advocating continuous two-way verbal feedback between managers and their teams. Additionally, AI is being integrated in a positive way to give people productive hints of how to improve performance in real-time.


2. Looking ahead:

How many data scientists will you need to achieve your vision and goals for 2036? Who will replace your current CFO when she retires in five years’ time? Do you need to introduce a Chief of Sustainability Role? Or a Chief of Social Good role? Who will fill these? And is it more expensive to train up in-house employees or hire externally? HR teams need to learn to strategically scenario plan and use predictive modelling tools in order to envision the key roles of tomorrow, to start building diverse succession pipelines for these today.


3. Learning ecosystems:

A recent Harvard Business Review (HBR) piece likens an organisation to a biological ecosystem. Ecosystems must grow or they die. And to grow and evolve, the parts of the ecosystem must learn. Taking the analogy further, the article talks about the need for a symbiotic learning experience between an employee and an organisation.


Employees can’t learn alone; they need HR and leadership teams to invest in their growth. Which in turn, benefits the organisation. There’s an “S-curve” to learning – people start at the bottom with lots of room to grow, then they start reaching the “top of that learning curve” and begin to plateau. HR and managers must have growth plans for every individual.


They need to play a big role in nudging employees onto new growth curves, by encouraging team members to study things like online management courses, and to set goals and actively go after these. HBR says it’s about “building capacity ahead of the competition” – and having a positive learning environment is the best way to do that.


If you’ve been considering sponsoring HR courses and online management courses for valuable HR team members, now is an optimal time to invest in your people and start to build capacity in the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Browse SGI’s online short courses to find out which ones suit your team’s needs and business strategy.


SGI Managing Talent and the Workforce

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