Attention CHROs: Are your talent leaders checking the box … or delivering value out-of-the-box?

Attention CHROs: Are your talent leaders checking the box … or delivering value out-of-the-box?

11.Sep.2017
Jocelyn Lincoln

Coauthored by Deb Joseph

No new news here: Demand is outstripping supply across most job categories. Candidates, contractors and employees are in the drivers’ seats and loyalty is faltering.  The gig economy is on the up-tick – but managers are hesitant to embrace it. Employer branding may say all the right things – but falls short of facilitating effective match making. Digital and AI tools are coming on the market faster than they can be understood or absorbed. Loads of corporate time and resources are spent developing workforce plans that sit on shelves -- disconnected from the realities of total supply and sourcing plans to buy, build, and/or borrow talent.

Step up, or move out: Talent leaders are approaching an inflection point that promises to challenge, if not up-end, the fundamental ways in which they add value to their businesses. This transition—fueled not just by the digital revolution, but also by profound changes in the workforce—presents these leaders with important opportunities to re-imagine how they accelerate and shape business outcomes.

More than ever, talent leaders need to be out in front of what workforce capabilities (not just jobs) they will need to deliver business success -- and how to fuse together the best combination of talent, in the right place, at the right cost.  As the world of work transforms – from jobs to tasks, from people to robots, from bricks and mortar to the cloud – the variables in this equation have never been greater – nor the stakes ever higher.

Heightened demands for workforce planning and total talent data-based insights create opportunities for talent leaders to better identify and anticipate business needs and look across the entire talent management supply chain to give them a leading edge (and keep labor spend in line with business outcomes).  Today, these capabilities exist in silos and pockets (e.g., SWP ‘owners’, human capital analytics, learning & development, talent acquisition and procurement) – and across the range of HR consultancies and talent supply vendors. 

Talent leaders who embrace—and master—the combination of digital technologies and workforce innovations (including advances in automation, the use of free agent/gig talent, flexible work arrangements, and consumer-based approaches to recruitment and engagement) have an opportunity to greatly expand their organizational influence and profile, as the ability to match resources with business requirements becomes a cornerstone of enterprise effectiveness.  In a recent study KellyOCG conducted with Harvard Business Review, 84% of respondents say their companies would realize a substantial, financial benefit by improving their ability to manage their workforces in a more integrated way; and 80% agree that “Talent acquisition leaders currently have a substantial opportunity to contribute value and extend their influence by taking the lead on strategic workforce management efforts at my company.”

Practical ideas: However, this will be no easy task as it means unwinding many long-established and inherited talent management behaviors.  So as talent leaders begin to re-think their value propositions, here are a few practical ideas to keep in mind:

  • Re-define your inner circle: In addition to business leaders, invite information technology, marketing, digital marketing, analytics / data science and procurement leaders to your planning table. Focus on collaborating to co-create solutions that leverage, not challenge, powerful cross-functional competence. 
  • Make it your business to know the supply-side market inside and out: Use the power of integrated internal and external data to know, and not guess, what types of talent are available -- and the pros / cons of different sourcing strategies, especially from a contingent perspective.  With disciplined processes, stack this up against the demand from the business and use your recruiting muscle to strategically forecast and smartly close critical gaps.
  • Modernize the required competencies of your teams: Think agility, change management, consultative problem solving, social strategy, and analytical decision making. 
  • Step up to change leadership and “be the bridge”: Planning for capabilities vs. jobs and integrating sourcing strategies across all labor categories will require perseverance and collaboration across many internal silos … take full advantage of this opportunity to be the bridge that unites key organizational capabilities in the interest of finding and keeping the best of the best talent working inside your business!