Thursday 23 November 2017
 
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ANALYSIS

Organizations need to apply “agile” approaches
to their talent strategies.

The need for ‘multi-speed’ talent strategy

LONDON, August 5, 2017

“Multi-speed” operating models are increasingly being adopted by today’s organizations. Each part of a business moves at a different pace, so leadership needs to master the art of helping each part thrive and contribute, says a new report.

Organizations need to apply “agile” approaches to their talent strategies, and ensure their HR infrastructure is scalable and can offer a personalized employee experience, said a new report.

Companies looking to build out digital operations will need to develop and hire different skills and match them to new capability requirements, all while continuing to support their more traditional workforces, added the new report titled “Multi-speed Talent” from Accenture, a global management consulting and professional services company.

An undifferentiated talent strategy that can’t meet the needs of both new and traditional workforces, or that is not aligned with business strategy, will weaken business outcomes and stifle growth.

Many companies today are developing more sophisticated capabilities in areas such as automation, analytics and artificial intelligence. It stands to reason that such companies are attracting—or need to attract—different kinds of employees with different skills and outlooks.

With a monolithic or single-speed talent strategy, it is much harder to tailor the right kind of employee experience that helps engage, develop and retain this new type of talent.

Your workers, especially millennials, are accustomed to personalized consumer experiences. Why should they expect less at work?

Accenture Strategy recently worked with a company in the financial services industry to look at the ways they managed talent and to analyze the different components of their talent strategy. We asked, “How can we make everything relevant for the workforce ecosystem you have now, as well as your future workforce?” The company was making a series of talent-related changes: locations, the types of work people were doing, the kinds of skills that needed to be recruited, the career pathways and the criteria for advancement. That’s a lot of moving parts.

The team had to work on developing a talent strategy that leveraged what already existed at the company, but also created something nimble enough to meet future requirements. Accenture Strategy eventually developed a standalone, separate talent strategy for a critical workforce supporting IT needs including application development and support. The strategy leveraged the common infrastructure but was tailored to the specific needs of that workforce.

The next logical step, as the company evolves, will be to modularize that approach so that different areas of the organization can pick and choose the pieces relevant for additional critical workforces.

Is your HR organization up to speed?

A multi-speed talent strategy requires new kinds of HR thinking and action to make it all work. HR is a critical player because it is uniquely positioned to connect the needs of the business with the right talent to deliver on those needs.

A first step, then, is to understand the organization’s different business objectives and their implications for different workforces. For example, one objective might be to save $X million in costs. This might focus HR on those workforces where automation and augmentation could replace routinized work, redeploying people to areas where their knowledge and skills could make a greater business impact.

On the other hand, the objective to hit new revenue targets would highlight the importance of the sales organization. The need to improve innovation and time to market might result in an emphasis on R&D or IT.

Once those business-centric factors have been determined and relevant workforces identified, then executives can go a layer down to look at the supporting talent strategies for those workforces. Some parts of the strategy might be common across many workforces. Other parts would need to be customized to different groups.

For example, consider how the talent strategies for a sales organization would contrast with strategies for a workforce specializing in digital solutions. Recognition and rewards programs would certainly differ, as would the way workers are engaged and motivated. Training for salespersons would likely be primarily employer-sponsored and there would probably be lots of it because the ROI can be seen directly in terms of increased sales and revenue.

With the digital solutions group, staying abreast of hot skills is a top priority. Companies looking to attract and retain these workers would need to provide additional opportunities for professional development, including allowing people time to participate in open source communities where cutting-edge ideas are shared and discussed. Because of the intense competition for top talent in the digital area, large enterprises might invest time and effort in creating more of a start-up kind of culture, offering more varied work and encouraging entrepreneurial mindsets.

As these examples demonstrate, adopting a multi-speed talent strategy means that HR now needs to (1) understand which parts of the employee lifecycle need to be tailored, while (2) determining which parts can be standardized, modularized and reused. Based on that expertise, HR can more readily attract and retain top talent, keep costs in line, drive excellence in workforce performance and increase impact on the business.

Changing gears

So how does one go about developing a multi-speed talent strategy? Here are a few tips.

Apply a multi-speed mindset across the employee lifecycle

Take a page from IT and apply “agile” approaches to your talent strategies. Agile development is more flexible, aligned and adaptive than traditional development. When you have an agile, multi-speed talent strategy, you can deliver parts of the lifecycle tailored to different workforces just when they need them.

Make sure your hr organization has a scalable and personalizable infrastructure

Thanks to digital advances, HR can now leverage a common IT platform to create modularized solutions for the business and scale each part as needed to address each critical workforce. HR also needs to apply a consistent framework to support decision making.

Plan and operate from the vantage point of the employee experience

No doubt about it, there’s a competitive marketplace for top talent out there. Workers expect a personalized experience. A company should be able to plan experiences across the employee lifecycle, just as they now plan how to deliver differentiating customer experiences. What about enabling employees to choose their own work schedules, or engage in specialized training or sabbatical experiences, or participate in social outreach programs as part of their work day?

Living and working in a multi-speed world

The speed of product development and service delivery are accelerating dramatically. Companies are under increasing pressure to tailor and customize—to different customer segments, different parts of the business and, yes, different parts of the workforce, both internal and external.

Organizations that don’t make the leap into modularized, scalable, personalized talent strategies may not be able to keep up with the cost pressures of attracting scarce critical talent or the demands of future workforces. Nor will they be able to deliver on the expanded portfolio of products, services and businesses required to fuel future growth. – TradeArabia News Service




Tags: HR | Accenture | Digital transformation |

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