Talent management has always been about creating sustainability and security for the future of the business. Succession plans made sense in a world where the future was largely predictable, evolving rather than transforming. All that has changed. The future is now unknown and unknowable and leaders across industries now believe they need to change their approach to talent management to make sure it’s fit for future and will deliver business value. To deal with disruption, talent management needs to itself be disrupted.

Driving this need is the emerging tension between the technology fuelling future growth and the skillbase of the human capital that is needed to realise that value. We know from our 2016 survey that, despite the majority of CEOs believing technology will be their chief value generator in the future of work, the value of human capital far outstrips physical capital.

To deal with disruption, talent management needs to itself be disrupted. Click To Tweet

Human capital needs to evolve

Now, leaders are coming to terms with the fact that the new talent management challenge isn’t about reducing the impact of humans, but about changing their impact. Even companies that are using more robotics foresee a growing need for human talent with advanced skills, but the challenge is big: how do you redeploy people from the factory floor, where robots can perform repetitive work, to the research laboratory?

The solution requires a new approach to talent management that liberates your talent, unleashing them to deliver real market advantage. The changes required are big, but there is time to mitigate the risk.  Organisations must make talent strategy a key priority and take steps now to educate, train, and upskill their existing workforces. With an eye to the talent crunch coming in APAC, the competitive advantage is there right now for forward-thinking companies to capture.

Three mindset shifts all leaders need to make for the future of talent management

  1. From talent hierarchies to talent segments

The traditional, deep-dive hierarchical approach to succession planning can lack commercial focus. Instead, leaders should be thinking deeply about which segments of their talent population are most critical to growth and competitive advantage, looking across organisational boundaries.

Leaders don’t just need to understand their critical talent segments, they need to talk about them. There’s no doubt that many employees will feel apprehensive about their place in the future of work and it’s the leader’s role to provide constant, clear communications to help their teams see where they fit and how they need to develop their skills to get there.

  1. From critical roles to critical capabilities

As leaders move away from hierarchical talent succession and towards talent segmentation, the focus on critical roles falls away, except at the highest levels. Instead, leaders need to understand and develop critical capabilities in their people, tied to the organisational strategy.

Taking a segmentation approach, RBS now look at talent against five critical capabilities rather than against talent succession. They go deep into the organisation looking for the raw talent with these critical capabilities that will make these individuals relevant in 2027, regardless of the roles in place.

  1. From process to person

More than ever before, leaders need to focus on the people at the centre of their talent strategy. They need to understand more than just what an individual’s capabilities are and instead learn about the whole person – what motivates the? What are their hopes and dreams?

This level of understanding, of talent intimacy, is essential to moving towards liberating your talent rather than merely managing it. By considering the whole person for a particular role, rather than just the skills match, leaders can tap into their employees’ intrinsic motivation, unleashing performance. As leaders at Novartis put it: we can’t grow the talent unless we know the talent.

Learn more about the future of talent management, in our webinar Re-imagining Talent Management.

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About Contributor

Shahrizal Mohd Suffian is a Senior Client Partner for Korn Ferry Advisory, Malaysia. With 22 years of experience, he specialises in human capital transformation and strategic talent management, includes designing organisational structure, talent management initiatives, competency modelling, rewards strategies, top team intervention, CEO and executive succession. He also has the Executive Coaching experience with Mondelez, BNM and PETRONAS.

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