The War on Talent

I was recently on a webcast panel run by The Human Capital Institute discussing the War on Talent. The key themes were around leadership, retaining talent and operating styles; all important, exciting and very relevant topics. Now obviously this article is about ‘talent’. But let’s look at the opening title ‘The War on Talent’. We view this as a battle which has connotations that make this seem hard, brutal and a process.

But the ‘talent’ we talk about are human beings and that’s what I want to focus on. We need to humanize the process, the engagements and remember that there is a ‘no size fits all’ model.

The world of work is a significantly different place to even twenty-years ago and at the front of all of this is technology. We are looking at a world where robotics and AI are starting to replace actual human beings. We are all very used to engaging with technology — but the world of work works because we have human-to-human interactions. HR departments exist to help drive the strategy around people (as well as the nuts and bolts). The future of the workplace is about enabling these interactions and creating a more connected workforce.

So going back to the original statement, the ‘War on Talent’ will be won by re-phrasing this statement to ‘Enabling Talent’. We need to blend technology with people, create frameworks that allow for companies to understand their people and create open, transparent cultures that people want to be part of and where they can connect with each other. Our aim should be to align people’s skills and interests with their work, enabling them to be the best they can be and in-sync with what they want.

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I’m excited to see what happens next. Will companies truly embrace this enabling model, will they let go of this command and control style management system and create a flatter structure where people are intelligently organized around projects and needs, as opposed to strict job specs and divisions. The portfolio career model fascinates me. Will we really have brands such as the big four reducing permanent headcount and relying on a contingent market? Will individuals truly want to have a portfolio career and be in control of their destiny, rather than the safety of a brand looking after them?

I certainly don’t know the answer, but what I do see is there is a desire for change, a more humanized process and environment where people come first and if we continue on this thread then the ‘War on Talent’ will be over.

(Re-posted with permission from Fresh Business Thinking)


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