Talent Management and the Risk of NOT Modernizing

Add bookmark

Modernizing talent management_group of competing people with a pencil paving a path to faster success or recruitment of talent

Talent management in HR is not what it once was.  The simple reason:  talent is more willing to take risks than the HR professional.  Solix Inc. chief human resources officer Maryanne Spatola explains why HR must modernize talent management or get left behind.

Talent Management Modernization

Spatola made the comments while speaking during a Hacking HR event held in Tampa, Florida.

She started with discussing the popular concept of the corporate ladder.  Spatola quickly noted it is broken.

Courtesy:  Mason Stevenson

“Gone are the days of 30 year careers in one organization… where we started at the bottom of the personnel ladder and tried to work our way up,” she said.  In fact, she noted most new entries into the workforce are likely to change jobs every three to five years and hold 12+ jobs in five to six different companies.  Furthermore, these individuals will change professions two to three times and, in the process, will be working for a very long time.

Sounds like the description of a millennial, right?  In fact, the description is that of Spatola and others like her in addition to millennials.  So, what’s the reason for this development?

Simply, workers are living longer, healthier lives and choose to continue working for a variety of reasons.  It’s been said before that Baby Boomers are retiring, and while that’s true, it isn’t happening at the rate first thought.

Half-life skill

One of those reasons focuses on the continuing technology disruption.  Simply, technology creates this concept of the half- life skill.  Essentially, the half-life of a learned skill is 5 years. That means much of what a worker learned 10 years ago is now obsolete and half of what the worker learned five years ago is irrelevant.

Courtesy:  Mason Stevenson

Mix that with what some say is a volatile business environment and it translates to workers’ necessity to change jobs.  In doing so, they must be prepared for the new future of work.

Gig Economy

A key component of that new future of work:  the gig economy. 

According to the Harvard Business Review:

“Approximately 150 million workers in North America and Western Europe have left the relatively stable confines of organizational life — sometimes by choice, sometimes not — to work as independent contractors. Some of this growth reflects the emergence of ride-hailing and task-oriented service platforms, but a recent report by McKinsey found that knowledge-intensive industries and creative occupations are the largest and fastest-growing segments of the freelance economy.”

No all gig workers participate full-time in the gig economy.

“Many of them are doing it to supplement their income,” Spatola says.  “It goes back to that economic fallout a lot of people went through a few years back.  People went back into jobs just to have a job, but they took a less paying job and so they have to supplement their income.  They’re using the gig economy to help them do that.”

Why Talent leaves

Some talent, ultimately, leaves their company and moves to another.  According to Spatola, there are three reasons for this.

  1. Money – the desire to increase pay and benefits
  2. Similar Core Values – the desire for the employer to match the workers core values
  3. Constructive discontent – the desire to continue looking for new knowledge, skills, and opportunities

Rethinking Talent Management

Spatola discussed how companies should rethink talent management.  Start with sourcing the right talent.

“The way we go after and source and recruit and try and attract talent to our organizations needs to shift,” she said, “to this open global talent economy that allows us to find talent anywhere in a variety of formats.”

Next, companies should focus on the learning and development aspect.

“We know they like to continue to learn, and so what type of platforms are we providing to them that creates an environment of continuous, ongoing learning with new opportunities to learn and grow and contribute to the organization.

Finally, she said companies need their talent management strategies to be more nimble.

“In essence, what I think we need to do with our talent practices is reinvent them to be an ecosystem that helps with rapid deployment and development of our talent by using agile processes and systems that help us do that we need to respond to talent the same way we do to changing business conditions,” Spatola said.

REPORT DOWNLOAD: The Transformation of Talent Management

At the end of the day, not modernizing talent management could spell disaster for companies.

“I read a report recently that said this is a toughest talent market since 2007,” Spatola said.  “So, if we don't get in this game and learn how to be more nimble and think about talent in different ways… we're going to miss it.”


Mason Stevenson
HR Exchange Network