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The future of talent development and retainment

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Changes to work have required the demands and expectations of talent to change. What lies in the future for talent development and retainment? Do companies now need to take a more holistic approach to recruitment? HRD Connect investigates the future of talent development and retainment.

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The world of talent is undergoing significant changes, studies by Oxford Economics in its ‘Global Talent 2021’ report found that 41% of companies have experienced huge transformational shifts recently.

“No matter where they’re based, there is little doubt that HR functions are experiencing at least some level of adversity as they navigate through today’s complex, ever-changing world,” said Robert Bolton, Global Head of People & Change Centre of Excellence, KPMG.

At the centre of change is people. Businesses must work towards a way of identifying the most in-demand skills to develop employees and secure their future. Doing so can encourage employees to stay and grow within the business.

Business leaders are now waking up to the need to create a winning culture. Research carried out by CultureIQ found that 90% of employees working in winning company cultures are confident in their company’s leadership team. However, only 12% of executives believe their companies are driving the ‘right culture‘.

Consequently, many organisations are striving towards creating a perfect culture. Making this an agenda can unleash the full potential of a workforce, encouraging them to develop internally.

“The conversation around culture is intensifying as senior leaders understand the need for culture change to drive business performance,” explained Kate Holt, Partner, KPMG.

“Many HR executives globally are currently in the process of changing their organisations’ culture to align with their organisations’ purpose. This could also explain why, for what seems to be the first time, culture has risen to the top of the C-suite agenda.”

Talent and culture go hand-in-hand and HR plays a vital role in establishing the right culture.

“A strong correlation also exists between dedicated culture roles and confidence in attracting talent. Employees with a dedicated purpose, working for companies with culture roles embedded within HR are also seen to be more confident in their ability to attract the right talent to meet their companies’ growth objectives,” continued Robert.

Creating a strong company culture can be a pivotal approach to talent development and retainment. It can help employees feel purposeful – reassuring them of their importance within an organisation.

Despite culture positively impacting retainment, many HR teams consider it a difficulty to retain their best employees, especially given the uncertainty of business outcomes in a turbulent exterior environment. Many believe that employee experience is crucial to understand employees’ career aspirations to counter this challenge.

“It’s hard to compete with the biggest tech companies on pay alone so you have to look at how you can differentiate yourself through your Employee Value Proposition,” said Alastair Cooper, Head of People Strategy and Transformation, Arm Holdings.

“We think about employees as individuals, rather than resources. It’s a stressful, demanding industry, but we treat every individual differently and try to understand them as whole people with a life outside the office.”

Many companies are finding new ways to track employee experience, such as pulse surveys, journey-mapping, and qualitative insight.

Redefining the employee experience can create a pathway to understand the expectations of people, which could heavily impact development and retainment.

“Building a design thinking capability into the HR function enables the HR function to explore employee expectations, personalise experiences, and unearth and positively expand upon the drivers that motivate employees to engage — the true return on investment,” continued Robert.

Due to the increasing pressure of talent development and retainment being executed successfully, do businesses require a change in approach and tackle talent? Robert believes that organisations must take a more holistic approach to talent management.

“Looking forward, talent managers must isolate and address a much broader array of talent risks, taking into account a critical need to connect their people to each other and to leadership; to forecast and manage costs and to move away from an approach to compliance that sees frontline managers simply ticking the box on performance reviews,” explained Robert Bolton, People and Change, KPMG.

“And beyond these five Cs of capacity, capability, connection, cost and compliance, talent managers must also hardwire talent risk into their wider enterprise risk management frameworks—thereby placing it firmly on the radar of the right people at the right level.”

Winning the war on talent requires a change in relationship between employee and manager across the whole business.

Connectivity and communication remain key to succeeding in an ever-changing working world. Prioritising talent and utilising culture can aid businesses in remaining impervious in the future.

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