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The workforce of the future: developing your talent management strategy for tomorrow

By 22/09/2021January 18th, 2022HR Software, Talent Management
talent management

The current state of the UK talent market is making the lives of recruiters and hiring managers more challenging than ever before – especially in deeply affected industries such as logistics, hospitality and health care. Many industries have sorely felt the impact of Brexit and the pandemic, but as businesses seek a return to ‘normal’ levels of operation, record numbers of vacancies are going unfilled.

What’s more, a dip in business throughout COVID has led many businesses to slash recruitment budgets and look for new ways to help bridge any gaps in talent and support attracting new talent into 2022 and beyond.

In this article, we look at just some of the key considerations for HR leaders looking to to produce their talent management strategy for tomorrow.

Using existing talent

In the wake of COVID and the UK’s departure from the EU, a growing talent shortage and budget cuts have led many employers to look internally and invest in the talent they already have. We all know that it is far more expensive to attract a new customer than it is to retain an existing one. This rings true with your employees too: it costs about 25% more to hire new employees compared to retaining one (Jefferson Wells, 2021).

The emergence of an ‘internal talent marketplace’ encourages the development of existing talent to bridge a skills gap. If the pandemic has taught us nothing else, it is the need for resilience, agility and flexibility.

In research published by the ManpowerGroup, more employees are now seeking initiatives such as job sharing, mentoring, applying fresh skills in new roles, agile working across teams and functions and collaborating on various  projects in their roles. As employers, knowing what your workers want is key to being able to attract, engage and retain the very best talent

Using the employees already within your business and investing in employee development will be crucial for businesses looking to build their workforces for tomorrow. It also allows leaders to understand which skills are most in-demand across the business and identify where any areas need intervention. Over time, and as projects progress, trends in these gaps will likely occur meaning HR and leadership teams are able to understand exactly when and where internal talent needs to be developed in good time in order to fill those gaps that come up most often.

Tackling the skills gap

Following the last point above, once a skills gap has been identified within your business, the decision has to made whether to train an existing member of staff or recruit a new one. Now, for many businesses struggling with the same challenge of staff shortages and budget cuts, training internal staff up to fill these gaps is the wise option in order to maintain business continuity. While the usual knee-jerk reaction to a skills gap is to loo to recruitment, many businesses simply can’t find the talent they need right now.

Promisingly, leading business software comparison site, Capterra predicts that by 2025, 50% of new skills at an organisation will be developed internally rather than hired in.

But clearly, this doesn’t happen overnight and leadership teams must commit to taking a more active role in developing staff with the right skills, training and qualifications – for now and tomorrow.

Whether you choose to send employees on certified courses such as CIPD accreditation or you look to organisations such as LinkedIn, Coursera or Udemy for shorter, more specific qualifications; making sure you keep track of which training courses, qualifications, or accreditations employees have completed, when they expire or when they are completed is key for HR leaders looking to develop the breadth of skill-sets within their organisation.

HR software can help with the management of certifications, professional body memberships, accreditations and qualifications. Workflows can be created that notify HR or an employee’s line manager that their membership is about to expire, that they’re ready to progress onto more advance training courses or even if an employee does not currently hold a certification that your business requires.

Driven by technology

A no-brainer. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has meant the vast majority of businesses have catapulted their digital transformation strategy ahead by a number of years. The ‘bottom of the job list’ projects to digitise processes and functions quickly became a number one priority in order to mobilise entire businesses that moved to remote work early in the pandemic.

Talent management is no different. In fact, the last 18+ months have seen a surge in flexible working as many organisations reconsider their flexible working policies entirely.  Industry giants such as Shopify, Salesforce and Slack have all implemented policies that will see remote working become the norm with employees transitioning to 100% remote work.

Employers can now, within reason, appoint talent from anywhere and employees can work from wherever they choose. What’s more, the number of companies that have no physical location with employees based in different parts of the country (or world!), is on the rise too.

The ongoing COVID-19 crisis has seen a general increase in remote HR practices, recruitment and talent management included. As competition for the best talent has led companies to look further afield, many companies have had to find ways to attract, interview and manage new talent remotely.

HR technology is allowing businesses to entirely transform their talent management processes from anywhere, at any time. These cloud-based tools mean that HR leaders can gain real-time insights into their people, the impact of their initiatives and better understand any issues, risk factors or gaps in skills. They can communicate with, connect to and support their employees’ journeys from anywhere in order to provide a seamless, effective employee experience – regardless of where they are working.

Ultimately, HR tech is making the entire function more agile and able to make key workforce decisions quickly and accurately while keeping in touch at all times with employees.

Heightened focus on employee experience

As mentioned in the previous point, the rise of technology has also allowed HR leaders to reinvigorate their focus on employee experience, engagement and satisfaction. While tech does the heavy lifting around processing, admin and automation, HR departments can focus on what matters most: making sure they’re people are happy, productive and motivated to stick around.

The talent management strategies of tomorrow will focus less on process and automation instead of promoting collaboration, feedback and engagement.

From ensuring a safe working environment and promoting wellbeing initiatives to encouraging cross-department collaboration, development and retaining talent; what constitutes a great employee experience today is probably very different in many businesses from what it looked like a few years ago.

The changing world of work means that entire strategies to ensure a rounded, enjoyable experience for employees have had to be completely redefined. In addition, the pandemic has rewritten the considerations that HR and business leaders make in their employee experience strategy.

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