A meeting at AXA France Vie Reinsurance Branch India
THE WAR FOR TALENT WAS always on. For companies, hiring the right talent with requisite skillsets has always been a challenge. The Covid-19 pandemic eased these challenges a bit as remote working enabled companies to hire talent living in any part of the country, doing away with geographical limitations.
For business schools, this meant a big opportunity: there is a massive push happening to grab the best of the students, and nurturing them to be industry-ready professionals.
The pandemic created demand for new skillsets and there is a lot of unlearning, relearning and upskilling that is required to match the new workspace. As the pandemic accelerated unprecedented digital transformation across all sectors and industries, the new workspace also changed drastically, compared to the pre-pandemic conditions.
Companies need to adopt newer approaches for ensuring fitment of a candidate within the organisation. This presents a good opportunity for recruiters to build a work environment that nurtures the new skill needs and further upskill their entire workforce to keep pace with the changing times.
As we move towards a post-pandemic era, a management system based on old rules—a hierarchy that solves for uniformity, bureaucracy, and control—will no longer be effective. Taking its place should be a model that is more flexible, responsive and built around four interrelated trends: higher connectivity, unprecedented automation, technical upskilling and analytical agility.
What should management schools do to address the shift that is happening? They need to prepare aspirational, engaged and empowered leadership. Alongside, they need to make ground for agile transformation. With unprecedented automation across all industries, being agile is absolutely indispensable. Furthermore, there has to be upskilling of the workforce in tandem with the new needs of companies—technical upskilling and analytical agility.
On their part, companies have to invest simultaneously across the “hire to retire” life cycle. Fulfilling your talent needs is increasingly a multifaceted contest. Finding great talent comes with high responsibility for companies. And here, “hire to retire” has to be the selection motto. That starts with developing the right human resource management software, a focused team dedicated to managing the entire employee experience, from hiring and onboarding to creating new career paths, while continuously building and nurturing existing skills.
Again, companies need to work on the talent gap. Workforce planning also needs to be frequent rather than the typical once or twice a year, in order to keep pace with the changing demands and shifts in the makeup of the organisation.
Here. there is a need to think candidate experience, not recruiting process. To improve recruitment, HR departments and hiring managers tend to focus on improving their recruiting processes and introducing efficiencies. A more effective approach is to “think like a recruit” and focus on the candidate experience and skills. That includes improving the virtual candidate experience. Talent wants to meet other leaders, so make sure that seniors and other relevant roles are part of your interview team. Showcase the collaboration within teams and elaborate on the culture of cross-learning.
Good candidates are ambitious and have many options. Highlight the “responsibility” and “accountability”, with guidance that would be provided to the employee. The right candidate always appreciates a good challenge for better learning.
Top talent is eager to get going, so when new hires show up to start work, make sure there is an onboarding point of contact to help them navigate the company. The onboarding process should be streamlined so that, by the end of week one, they are able to jell in well.
After all, it is pertinent to remember that top talent is interviewing you, analysing you on various fronts—primarily collaboration. Teamwork, collaboration and camaraderie are paramount today. The skill requirement of today’s workplace is so diverse that one individual can’t fit into all shoes, making collaboration indispensable. This is the reason why earlier notions of a “good” worker adept at his/her job no longer holds true.
You can’t hire a brilliant batsman and have them just do net practice all day. In the same way, top talent needs a work environment and flexibility where they can fully practice their craft. Leading organisations focus on eliminating as many barriers as possible for their top talent.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are strategic necessities, not special initiatives. Research shows that employees working at gender-diverse and ethnically diverse companies are more likely to outperform their peers in non-diverse organisations. Essentially, companies embracing diversity and inclusion in all aspects of their business statistically outperform their peers. We live in an increasingly diverse world—and hence strong organisations should reflect the same change and make diversity and inclusion high priority on their agenda.
COMPANIES CAN CHOOSE to adopt the 3W model. This includes:
Workforce: Developing a clear and surgical understanding of the organisational talent needs, and a practical plan to fill them, and a hiring approach centred on candidate experience and skills. Companies also need to make sure that they are willing to unlearn, relearn and embrace new skillsets.
Work model: Putting in place a work model that enables small teams of talents to work on the most interesting problems, unfettered by management.
Workplace: Creating a work environment that nurtures talent through diversity and a supportive work culture, which is especially important within the context of hybrid and remote models. This includes providing different career paths that help talent develop their most valued asset—their skills.
We are living through a fundamental transformation in the way we work. Automation and “thinking machines” are replacing human tasks, changing the skills that organisations are looking for in their people. But what will the future look like?
This isn’t a time to sit back and wait for events to unfold. To be prepared for the future, you have to understand it. Act now. This isn’t about some “far future” of work—change is already happening, and accelerating. The future isn’t a fixed destination. Plan for a dynamic rather than a static future. You’ll need to recognise multiple and evolving scenarios. Organisations need to own the automation debate. Automation and Artificial Intelligence will affect every level of the business and its people. It is too important an issue to leave to IT (or HR) alone. A depth of understanding and keen insight into the changing technology landscape is a must. Organisations can’t protect jobs which are made redundant by technology—but they do have a responsibility to their people. Protect people, not jobs. Nurture agility, adaptability and reskilling. Build a clear narrative.
A third of workers are anxious about the future and they think they might lose their job due to automation—an anxiety that kills confidence and the willingness to innovate. How your employees feel affects the business today—so start a mature conversation about the future..