TalentReshaping roles for the growing talent pool

Reshaping roles for the growing talent pool

Businesses face an ongoing challenge of managing the growing talent pool. How will roles and expectations continue to change?

What is happening in the world of talent, and what can businesses do to manage this evolving pool of talent? HRD Connect with help from Bill Heath, Partner, Oliver Wyman (B.H) and Georgina Simpson, Principal, Oliver Wyman (G.S) investigate the growing talent pool. 


What are the biggest changes in talent today?

Bill Heath: There’s been a lot of conversation around the contrast of expectations between baby boomers and newer generations. However, when you have a look at the data and what they want from their careers, it doesn’t vary massively.

There are spikes around millennials looking for greater recognition and greater levels of feedback, but that might be because they’re entering their careers for the first time.

How people expect to use technology is drastically changing. The shift towards the use of social media and how that translates to how people interact with business leaders has changed considerably.

Additionally, training has changed, for example, people use Google to learn new things. That changes the entire system of learning, which companies are just starting to come to terms with.

The rise of neurodiversity, sexual diversity, and gender diversity means that the expectation of inclusivity needs to be taken on board.

People who are born today have a 50% chance of reaching 100. If you consider that most pensions support people for 10 to 15 years, that implies people must work until 85 as opposed to 65.

The way people will start to think about work when they’ve got 60 years ahead of them is going to change dramatically.

Jobs are changing, and businesses must look at how they engage their people to retain and motivate successfully.

Georgina Simpson: There has been a drive for greater equality, driven by both the opportunity which diversity brings but also the risk of not keeping up with others in the market. There’s much more data that exists now to reveal that companies with diverse workforces, which are also inclusive, will drive greater performance.

There’s an opportunity for organisations to better recognise and support different groups in their organisation.

Do companies know how to create a diversity and inclusion strategy?

G.S: Many organisations have done the right things in hiring more women or diverse groups to balance the numbers. However, some managers are finding that it’s not as productive as the business used to be. This is because they haven’t successfully created an environment where people can thrive to perform to the best of their abilities.

Organisations have changed the policies and procedures, structures, and processes, especially around the talent life cycle such as recruitment or promotion. However, less is being done to evolve the behaviours and beliefs that exist in the business to create an inclusive culture.

Rarely do organisations make it very clear that they expect certain behaviours to be upheld, and rarely are leaders held accountable to recognise and act when that’s not occurring. That’s why performance isn’t as effective as they’d hoped it would be, even though they’re ‘ticking the boxes’ in terms of diversity.

A great step some organisations are doing to build a more inclusive culture is listening. By going beyond some of the traditional approaches such as adding questions to the annual staff engagement surveys, organisations can gain a much deeper gauge on how people are feeling and what can be done to enhance their working environment.

Can businesses prepare for future talent changes?

B.H: They can on the macro side. A global organisation will know whether it needs to start recruiting more heavily in one geography because they should know where population growth is. Businesses can adapt to talent changes by operating on a yearly cycle, understand what is working for people, and adjust things accordingly.

As a lot of organisations start to bring in more technology, they are recognising that people who work in tech have a different set of needs and expectations. What we’ll see is more tailoring on a more micro-scale, alongside big shifts as competencies in technology transform around the world.

The changes are more focused on what businesses can do retain people and give them a meaningful career path. Leading organisations are far more flexible, but the biggest changes come from where leaders at every level are creating a culture and environment where people feel able to share what’s working for them. Leaders can then become more authentic in listening and finding a way to change it.

Where are the biggest talent shortages as the talent pool grows?

B.H: There’s a significant shortage around technology. Many of my clients are needing to increase the amounts of analytical competence in different parts of the world. They look around and wonder what they can offer people that will attract them.

G.S: There’s a dawning realisation around how leaders can become more effective. That growth could be around observing great behaviour and giving development feedback. Being able to have a very constructive performance conversation can go far.

Businesses also need to be equipping line managers to have broader conversations with diverse workforces – whether it’s around issues related to ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, or mental health.

Many line managers feel unequipped to deal with that. Organisations are looking at how they can do that effectively and continuously.

B.H: People are starting to recognise that small start-ups give people the ability to thrive. There’s the excitement of being an entrepreneur, and being involved in everything, as opposed to having one job and one main responsibility. In a start-up, there’s the potential for big rewards at the end.

The challenge for those bigger organisations is finding out the value proposition that managers need to give to their people. It’s about businesses talking to everyone who’s part of the ecosystem of talent that they work with to effectively deliver to customers.

Are there any specific sectors or industries where the expectations of work are changing more than others?

G.S: Some organisations have got specific teams who are embracing agile to work in different ways. They’re bringing the tech agile approach into more performance improvement environments. This creates far more interactive, open space working environments physically, but emotionally as well. That also appeals to the workforce of the future.

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