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Tom Haak is a featured contributor to Marketing Talent Management: How Technology Keeps Them Thriving report.

Here's the complete contribution:

More marketing techniques

Talent Management Tech will use more marketing techniques in order to be able to detect the individual preferences and capabilities of talent. Treating employees as individuals and not as part of a group or segment is one of the most important long-term trends. The way organisations deal with employees is still far behind the way organisations deal with clients, but there is movement. HR can learn a lot from marketing.

Today most organisations still segment in simple ways. Young versus old, Gen X, Gen Y and Gen Z, Managers and non-managers and so on. Many untested assumptions are used to design policies and career tracks. “Gen Y wants more work-life balance.” “People above 55 want to slow down.” With big data analysis and sophisticated algorithms, it has become easier to detect and predict individual preferences of employees, and organisations can act on the insights with tailored programs and interventions.

Talent sourcing and detection will be more and more powered by AI

As the boundaries of organisations are blurring, the difference between inside and outside the organisation becomes less important. If you give the machine an indication of the type of candidates you are looking for, it will start a broad search, and deliver a long-list of potential candidates quickly. You can feed the machine with a list of requirements, but also with the profiles of people who are already successful in your organisations (or other organisations) in the domain where you are looking for candidates. This development will probably also mean the end of the traditional job boards, where you can post vacancies. Why would you need a job board, if your machine can search almost everywhere? Of course, candidates need to be visible online, but today most candidates are visible. The software will also look at the personality profile of potential candidates, to check if there is a match between the personality of the candidate and the ‘personality’ of the organisation.

Performance Consulting tools will develop in the coming years

Helping good people to become better is not easy. Especially for developmental purposes, feedback needs to be very specific. We very much rely on human beings to make observations and give feedback. Tech can help us to gather and interpret data on individual end team performance, and for giving feedback there might also be good technical solutions. The sports world is more advanced when it comes to gathering data with technical devices, and using the data to improve performance.

Learning Tech will get more attention

Leaning and development is typically an area that is still dominated by a “one-size-fits-all” approachStandard on-boarding programsTraineeshipsThe typical management development programs for different levels (beginners, middle management and senior management). Many organisations state that they are in favour of the 70:20:10 approach, but in reality they focus on the easy 10% (courses and training). It is very difficult to design effective interventions in the learning and development domain. The learning needs of employees are different, as well as the learning styles. Fortunately current technology will enable a more effective learning and development approach. We expect more focus on micro-learning, and less on general talent development programs.

Here is my list with the talent management trends for the coming year

A focus on today, not on the future

Instead of focusing on talent management interventions that have, hopefully, a long term effect (such as traineeships and development programs), you can focus on the interventions that have an effect today. Some examples:

  • Remove the blocker in the management team, and appoint one of your top potentials instead;
  • Appoint one of your biggest talents as Chief Digital Officer;
  • Give teams of high potentials responsibility for the development of new markets;
  • Don’t hesitate to put your best people on the most important jobs.

From a standard to an individual approach

The most important trend in HR is individualisation. Today it is no longer necessary to make assumptions about what people need and want. Today it is no longer necessary to divide the workforce in crude segments (“High Potentials”, “Middle Management”, “The older employees”). In consumer marketing, the individual approach is becoming very common. The way organisations treat employees, is lagging. Employees are starting to expect the type of experience they have as consumers, in the workplace (Read: The consumerisation of HR).

In talent management a tailored individual approach is very important. If you know what the capabilities of people are, what their wishes are and in what direction they want to develop, you can design opportunities that fit best with the individual needs and wishes. With the technology of today, you are able to know your employees better than they know themselves.

Blurring boundaries between internal and external

There is talent everywhere. Organisations limit themselves unnecessarily, if they focus too much on developing and retaining the talent on the payroll. You can make your talent pools larger, if you include talent elsewhere (at suppliers and partners, in the group of alumni, the self-employed professionals who work for your organisation).

Performance consulting

Good people want to become better. Performance consulting is the practice, to help people become better, by giving them regular and granular feedback, based on real performance. Helping top performers become better, is not easy. It is a lot easier to give someone with average performance some guidance on how to improve performance.

More focus on teams

Most of the HR practices, including talent management, are still very much focused on individuals (Read: From individuals to networks of teams). At the same time, teams are the major building blocks in most organisations. Developing and strengthening talent teams is still an underdeveloped practice, but will get more attention in the coming years.

The talent experience is important

On Twitter, there is a hashtag #myfirstday. People post photos of their first day in the new job. A photo of a nice clean desk, with a MacBook Pro and some flowers, or a photo of the nice lunch with the team on Day One. The employee experience better be nice! People like to share experiences, and the more positive experiences they share via social media, the better for the employer branding. Do you know what the experience of your talent is? Do they share heroic stories via Facebook and Instagram? How does the talent experience your company provides score on a scale from 1-100?

A more organic approach to talent management

Planning and control are overrated. Most talent management programs cost a lot of money, and do not deliver on the high expectations. HR and management are used to design and implement programs, and life might feel empty without. I was speaking about talent management with a friend, who is working at a medium sized multinational, recently. She said she was now advocating a “go with the flow” approach. Talent in their organisation often starts initiatives without any corporate involvement. The main task of the corporate team is to stimulate, not to stop these initiatives and not to force them to a global approach immediately. An interesting organic approach.

Talent Analytics as the foundation

Talent analytics is the foundation of all talent management initiatives. The most important talent management trends can be implemented, as they are fueled by talent analytics. We would hope talent analytics would be mainstream by now, but unfortunately many organisations are still exploring the possibilities to use talent analytics. When to focus is moving from the future to today, speed is more important than ever. Can you keep track of how the capabilities of people are involving? Can you quickly make a match between the urgent opportunity and the available talent? Are you able to track the engagement of key players in real time?


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