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COVID-19 has turned the world of work upside down. We’ve faced highs, lows, learned a lot and seen a total transformation of careers, values, the workplace, and the employee experience. So much has changed over the past two years and no one could have predicted the present situation. Currently, we are witnessing a unique talent phenomenon that we did not expect amidst the downsizing, government subsidies and economic turmoil: a massive talent shortage.
The unfolding of the global economic, political and social systems is impacting the workplace. As employees look to the job market for opportunities that better align to this new reality, organizations are increasingly turning to Talent Mobility to help them better attract, retain, develop, engage, and transition talent. Put simply, talent mobility is having systems and processes in place to understand your talent pool, develop employee skillsets and competencies, and strategically move them within the organization. When done properly this allows organizations to better engage and retain talent by offering new career opportunities, and create paths for those who will be transitioned into new roles outside the company.
The power has shifted: it’s now in the hands of employees. Organizations are fiercely competing to attract and retain not only top talent, but all talent, from senior executives to junior employees and all levels in between. This puts tremendous pressure on HR and management to create a sustainable workforce and ensure employees are engaged, productive and satisfied with their job. A major trend we are seeing across the board is candidates looking for career fulfillment and purpose. People want more meaning out of their jobs and expect their experience at work to reflect the changes we have seen in other realms of our lives. Someone that does not feel fulfilled will quit or even worse, practice presenteeism. Leaders often ask how to truly know if someone is fulfilled with their job, their career path, their growth and their place within an organization. Having an open and honest dialogue where you ask these questions is a good place to start.
For an organization, it’s important to ensure your leaders are having career conversations with employees regularly. To have open communication, leaders need to create a psychologically safe work environment. They need to know the needs and preferences of each of their team members. And most importantly, they must consider their needs when making a business decision. This will create a shared vision with which employees will be more engaged. If an employee expresses interest in another position whether it is inside or outside the company don’t be afraid to lose them. While we know that losing employees can have a major impact on productivity and culture, there are times when an employee and the organization must make the decision to part ways. Whether the choice is driven by the employee or employer, when it comes time to exit, they must be treated with the same respect and positivity as those onboarding and be provided with support and tools to set them up for success. This is also an opportunity to demonstrate to the remaining employees that the company genuinely cares. By creating a coaching culture and giving employees the tools to manage their career, you are demonstrating the company’s investment in their future. These are the foundations of talent mobility, and this is how you can retain a sustainable workforce.
According to several studies, Millennials and younger employees are more likely to be job hoppers. It is not unusual for them to change jobs every five years if not earlier, to pursue their development and acquire new skills. If organizations can offer their talent the capacity to internally hop to different positions and roles, they can fill this need for growth and development. To create a culture of talent mobility there must be a shared responsibility between the organization, the leaders and the employees. Employees must feel empowered to drive their career; leaders need to be well equipped to have career conversations and facilitate talent moves; and finally, the organization has to be clear on their HR needs to achieve business goals and to put in place the requested processes and structure to make it happen.
Technology continues to evolve and influence our economic sectors, industries and nature of work. Organizations are automating roles and those who can’t be automated are increasingly getting more complex. This means that now more than ever employees need to keep their skills up to date and relevant. One way organizations can support this need is by offering upskilling and reskilling opportunities. To ensure future success for both individuals and businesses alike, we need to be focused on both soft and hard skills. Soft skills such as communication, teamwork and empathy can be improved through assessments and coaching while hard skills such as data analysis and cloud computing can be developed via online learning platforms that are flexible and accessible.
According to UNESCO: “Micro-credentials are increasingly promoted as a new and more flexible way of recognizing knowledge, skills and competencies.” Organizations should be looking for affordable, simple and flexible user-choice solutions to help develop the skills of their existing talent and support those that no longer have a place within the organization. Upskilling and reskilling are key to talent mobility and helping set employees and organizations up for success throughout the career and integrated talent management cycle.
As we continue to move forward and adapt to our new ways of work being open and agile will be key. By utilizing a talent mobility strategy, you can get a clear picture of your talent, retain your workforce, put the right talent in the right roles, hire where required and support those exiting onto a new career path.