Jun 01, 2016

Time, Relative | Results, Actual

In today’s competitive job market, where companies are vying for the right talent to meet their ever-growing needs, many companies feel that their talent management programs are coming up short and not reaching targets. However, some industry experts suggest that the problem does not lie with the talent management programs themselves, but with how they are being applied.

Rather than the traditional one-size-fits-all talent management strategy and budget, some forward-thinking companies are transitioning to an agile talent management approach. An agile talent management approach requires shifting strategies and approaches rapidly and nimbly as often as every quarter to better meet the changing needs of the talent marketplace. As the environment changes so does the talent management strategy; for example, when the unemployment rate increases significantly, both recruiting and retention become easier, so fewer HR resources need to be applied to achieve the same results.

Why Do We Need an Agile Talent Strategy?

Today’s work world can easily be considered as an As-a-Service (aaS) economy, evidenced in everything from the way a person orders a taxi to the software that their company relies upon. Organizations are increasingly embracing the aaS concept as they continue to transform the workplace into an agile and collaborative environment.

The growth of freelance work is a great example of this. According to Ardent Partners, 48 percent of the global workforce will be comprised of independent workers by the end of 2017. In this environment, companies are engaging with talent on a Humans-as-a-Service (Haas) basis. As more individuals begin contingent work, employers will have to adapt their talent acquisition strategies to match.

Traditional Talent Management vs. Agile Talent Management

Traditional Talent Management vs Agile Talent Management

Source: intAlligent

Tips for Developing an Agile Talent Management Strategy

One of the most critical aspects of developing and sustaining an agile talent management strategy is to monitor the environment so that the company’s talent management department can respond to changes in it. The four major external environment categories that must be monitored include:

  • Changing economic and business factors – which includes significant changes in the stock market, interest rates, currency fluctuations, and unemployment rate.
  • Business actions by competitors – which can include expansions into new products or regions, new corporate leadership, and growth rates.
  • Changes in the talent marketplace – these can consist of shortages of talent, salary expectations, company loyalty, and new HR technologies.
  • Changes in competitors’ talent management approaches – this can include proactive actions by competitors including large-scale hiring, hiring freezes, layoffs, turnover, mergers, and changes in employer brand.

Agile Talent Management Manifesto

Agile Talent Management Manifesto

Source: intAlligent

Beyond monitoring the external environment, there are several other components that are necessary to building an agile talent management strategy.

Develop the capability of shifting rapidly – Work with the various talent management functions so that they come capable of moving faster into the next higher or next lower growth mode.

Develop a plan for changing direction – Develop a plan that allows the company’s talent management to pivot or reverse direction, as well as having the capability of having different business units move in multi-directions at the same time.

Prioritize services and business units – Staff and leadership limitations may require prioritizing, so focus efforts where they have the highest business impact.

Plan for a well-managed contingent labor component – A key component of agile talent management is the flexibility to quickly add or release labor capacity.  A company’s contingent labor plan should have the capability to meet the likely range of both growth and economizing bursts.

Create a learning and sharing plan – Speed, change, and rapid movement require continuous learning and best-practice-sharing capability, so put a plan in place to ensure that this is continuous and ongoing.

Measure and improve decision making speed – This is necessary because in a fast-changing competitive market, slow decision-making can become an agility killer.

Plan for slack periods – Cross-train workers so that they can be temporarily shifted into alternative roles during periods where there is less work to be done in one area.

Plan for overflow capability – Develop a plan for handling a sudden but short-term surge in the workplace, so that the overflow of work can be handled by designated employees, contingent workers, and/or outsourcing.

Develop a backfill plan – Create a plan to provide immediate replacements if someone in a key position leaves.

Develop effective agility metrics  - Develop key agility metrics and use them to monitor progress, speed, nimbleness, and return on investment (ROI).

“While most companies still have annual reviews, more than 80% reveal they are not worth the time people spend on them. Today companies want programs that focus on real-time feedback, coaching, development, and agile approaches to goal management. This means reshaping performance management to be more agile, developmental, and transparent.” ~Josh Bersin, Principal and Founder of Bersin by Deloitte