Ryan Lim
By Ryan Lim
5 years ago | comments

Talent Management 3.0: why sometimes 3 years can make a big difference

Blog post | Talent management Talent Management 3.0: why sometimes 3 years can make a big difference

In the aftermath of the crisis of 2008-2009, CEOs today have again ranked Talent Management on top of their management agendas. The business drivers for their actions are clear:

  • – Economic growth will resume, sooner or later
  • – Demographic shifts worldwide will lead to a shrinking workforce

Furthermore, almost every organisation today operates in a more complex and competitive environment.

– Therefore, in order to grow, there is a need to re-visit the concept of talents.

In 2010, Silvan Becker and I asked ourselves “Will post-economic crisis Talent Management be different or the same as pre-crisis Talent Management?” We strongly believe it will be drastically different. While there may not be a revolution in sight, talent management will certainly undergo a significant evolution, leading to Talent Management 3.0.

Talent Management prior to 2008

What did Talent Management look like prior to 2008? Up till the late 1990s, Talent Management followed the proven practice of succession planning between the masters and their chosen apprentices. While being groomed for the job, the apprentices absorbed the knowledge, skills and experiences passed down by the wise old guard. This was Talent Management 1.0 for both professionals and knowledge workers.

After the 20th century drew to a close, human capital became widely accepted as THE most importance asset for knowledge organisations. As a result, many organisations jumped onto the bandwagon to set up Talent Management programmes to attract, place, development and retain talent within their organisations. These were Talent Management 2.0 programmes, which included:

  • Translating business strategies to include the “need for talent”
  • Assessing or identifying talent (or high potentials) within organisations
  • Establishing specific talent recruitment programmes to prevent “brain drain”
  • Offering talent executive education and/or training programmes
  • Placing talent in strategically important positions
  • Offering special career tracks developed for the talent

The most striking and noteworthy drivers of most Talent Management 2.0 programmes were:

  • Top-down approach, usually resulting from business strategies
  • Organisation-centric, arising from and meeting the needs of the organisation

The economic crisis of 2008-2009 jammed the brakes on these drivers of Talent Management 2.0 programmes. Together with wide-ranging reductions in worldwide budgets, career and training opportunities, the talent decided to stay put. Most adopted a wait-and-see attitude during this period of uncertainty.

What trends will Talent Management 3.0 give form to?

To answer this question, we decided to first examine trends that will have the greatest impact on Talent Management. Let us begin with the changing demographics.

  • The Baby Boomers, born after 1945, will inevitably step into retirement
  • The Einstein Generation, born after 1988 (or Gen Y), will start to trickle into the workforce but in smaller proportion, thus widening the gap

What does it mean in numbers? Let’s look at an example in Europe, where I am based. Take the Netherlands from now till 2015. A massive 900,000 people will be expected to leave the workforce, while within the same period, only 300,000 people are expected to join in. By comparison, a decline of 8-9% within any 5-year period is considered substantial. Furthermore, the new Einstein Generation has other expectations about work:

  • Work must be fun, challenging, meaningful and diverse
  • Work itself must be fulfilling, not just an end in itself (e.g. getting a pay rise or promotion)
  • Work life is intertwined with personal life
  • Loyalty is given to the family, friends and colleagues (horizontal level), rather than to employers or superiors (vertical level)
  • Intrigued by work opportunities abroad or overseas job assignments

Talent Management 3.0: The objectives

The premise for Talent Management 2.0 was: Employees would stay longer with their employers because of the career growth and developmental opportunities offered to them. However, the waves of incoming talent today are definitively keener, more individualistic and critical of themselves and of the environment. If they cannot develop themselves within their organisations, they will look for other opportunities outside and beyond, thus resulting in increasing decline in employer loyalty.

Talent Management 3.0 is not only about attracting, placing, developing and retaining your talent. The critical question is: How flexible must your talent be? In other words:

  • What talents are necessary for the continuity and success of your organisation?
  • What talents can be replaced by external resources, freelancers or temporary staff?
  • How do we balance the costs and benefits of a flexible strategic workforce?

Talent Management 3.0: The themes

With your talent being more keen and critical, it becomes imperative that knowledge-intensive organisations put their Talent Management programmes under greater scrutiny. According to us, the themes that are likely to surface in the coming 3 years are:

  • Corporate Branding: What will make us an attractive employer to work for?
  • Strategic Workforce Planning: How flexible can and/or must we be?
  • The role and capabilities of managers to retain the talent
  • Productivity in relation to work-life balance: How can we achieve more with less people without them burning out?
  • Shifting from Competency-based profiles (“qualifications and skills”) to Talent-based profiles (“available potential”)
  • Assessing talent based on the value of their contribution and strategic objectives, rather than on completion of tasks
  • Not only vertical career paths, but also horizontal career paths
  • Shifting from individual learning to learning as a team (e.g. mentoring, peer coaching)
  • When to invest in developing and growing young talent, instead of hiring experienced but more expensive talent?
  • Shift in rewards-systems, from financial to non-financial incentives

In the coming weeks, we will discuss more about dealing with the themes of Talent Management 3.0. The above is merely our first serve and volley into this hot topic. How do YOU think Talent Management 3.0 will look like?

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Ryan Lim

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