COVID-19 pushed organizations to leave behind their exclusive focus on growth, efficiency and return, and pivot to resilience, flexibility and agility—democratizing work more than ever before.
In today’s “Great Resignation,” companies find themselves stretched for talent. In response, they need to make themselves attractive as possible. Therefore, the two most pivotal questions facing HR professionals today are:
- How can we connect talent to work as seamlessly as possible?
- How will we meet all talent where they are and on their terms?
Addressing these challenges can have a huge potential payoff. A number of progressive companies are leading the way.
Connect talent to work
HR professionals have the opportunity to re-envision the talent experience—and define it more broadly than the employee experience. Less work is getting done by full-time employees, which poses a challenge to HR practitioners. To face these challenges HR must design their services through the lens of the talent and their needs.
We predict a move toward work without jobs, a system where employees are freed from a single job-based function to become part of an internal or external skills-based talent marketplace. For example, a freelance data scientist could move among projects in marketing, HR and operations as needed. This requires employers to organize themselves along interactions with the respective internal talent group, rather than focusing on hierarchies, departments or functions.
The result will be an organization that has talent coming in and going out in a hub-and-spoke ecosystem where multiple functions, or even multiple companies, can share talent, risk, innovation and costs with an embedded HR function seconding them for success.
|Employees in fixed roles||Employees in hybrid roles that are a partially fixed but can flow to work as needed||Employees who fully flow to tasks, assignments and projects|
|Employees have traditionally been assigned to fixed roles.||In the emerging way of working, employees have hybrid roles.||In the future way of working, employees will fully flow to projects.|
Full-time employees in jobs
Permanent and collective value exchange
Job architecture enabled by ERP systems
Workforce planning is traditional headcount planning
Roles are partially fixed, but employees can flow to work as needed
Employees make tradeoffs for ability to engage with work on their terms
Infrastructure includes ERP systems and talent marketplaces
Workforce planning includes traditional headcount planning and skills-based planning
Employees but no jobs
Capabilities required in short-term bursts by several different work processes
Infrastructure includes talent marketplaces
Workforce planning includes agile work and skills-based planning
Employees were redeployed to address new business needs during the pandemic
Who am I?
What am I good at and what do I want to do?
Where are my opportunities for growth?
How will I stay relevant and sustain my way of life?
Increase in organizational productivity
In a single sweep, a global insurer took all digital employees out of their functions and put them into a virtual shared services marketplace.
Then, HR stood up a new center of excellence to train managers on the new process for sourcing talent for their projects. The marketplace’s algorithm looks at who has the skills, availability and interest in doing the work, and flows the talent to the project.
The algorithm also identifies people who are just a few skills away from being qualified for the project, so those people can take courses immediately to get up to speed.
Not only did this system increase productivity, but the organization is now a much more attractive employer.
Meet all talent on their terms
Meeting all talent on their terms will require a multidimensional approach to diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I).
Diversity is about getting more people into the game with a broader definition of representation. Equity is about designing work to ensure access to all. Inclusion is about fostering belonging.
How well does our workforce represent the communities we serve?
How will current representation change over the next five to 10 years?
How well do we ensure that policies deliver equality of opportunity, experience and pay?
How well do we create a culture that instills a sense of belonging, authenticity and trust?
One way HR professionals can meet all talent on their terms is by considering their target interaction model (TIM) before their target operating model (TOM). It insures that talent will be met where it‘s needed and put people at the heart of the interaction.
In the emerging hybrid or flow-to-work model, all talent will have a unique set of interactions and experiences with HR. Through DE&I lens, HR practitioners should think about what each individual needs from them, the services HR offers to talent, and the roles and responsibilities needed within HR to provide those services.
The resulting interaction model will look different among the companies, reflecting the dependency of people to the business model and drive both the talent experience and the new HR operating model. New HR roles will arise, others will radically change and the delivery model needs to be completely overhauled.
Stay relevant in an ever-changing world
We’re moving toward a new ecosystem of work where every enterprise is a distributed one and leadership comes from the edges. Just as technology keeps rendering itself obsolete at an accelerated pace, so, too, do organizations—unless they create a mechanism for talent to constantly build in-demand skills, and express those skills by seamlessly flowing to work.
The way to stay agile is to perpetually reinvent ourselves.
Global Transformation Services Leader
Global HR Transformation Leader, Mercer