'Fissures in traditional approaches to talent management, leadership': Conference

Employers grappling with technology, complexities

As global organizations grapple with a more technologically intensive and complex agenda, fissures in traditional approaches to talent management and leadership development are increasingly visible. This was a key theme that emerged at ON Talent, a two-day event hosted at Deloitte University in Dallas.

Talent professionals argued the prevailing models of talent development no longer hold. New models such as the corporate lattice that are better attuned to the times must be adopted or the risk of HR becoming less relevant is high.

“The system is broken,” said Annmarie Neal, founder of the Center for Leadership Innovation. “If the economic models of the last era of business won't translate to today's environment, why would our organizational and talent models translate? In fact, the way we have traditionally approached talent can be an impediment in the 21st century."

ON Talent explored the future of talent in a post-digital environment, where technology, cloud, social, analytics, mobile and cyber-security are embedded in the workplace and longstanding assumptions are being challenged. The conversations looked at the following themes:

•The changing social contract between employee and employer.

•How new technology is changing the way employees connect, work and generate high performance.

•The imperative to augment “gut judgments” with analytics.

“It is clear that we need to re-evaluate and recalibrate much of our approach to talent and leadership as a result of the new business dynamics, social changes and the work styles of today’s global employees,” said Jeff Schwartz, principal at Deloitte Consulting and ON Talent chair. “The perspectives brought forth at ON Talent will help to identify new strategies for a world transformed by technology, the human cloud, mobile and social media.

Emerging themes:

Businesses are belatedly recognizing the post-recession and forthcoming post-digital realities that are driving a critical need for change — both at the organizational and individual level, said participants. While some see the opportunity for renewal of "evergreen" talent strategies, others urged more radical change.

The participants agreed on the following key takeaways:

Work and the way it gets done must be redesigned. The fully connected company does not have four walls or walls at all. Organizations must tap the power of this “human cloud” and enable people to access opportunity, pursue their passions, find meaning in their work and grow — with support and endorsement from the corporation. Companies will continue to actively engage workers beyond their boundaries. Managing talent in a porous and fluid environment is a critical future challenge.

Customization for the employee’s work and life. Talent leaders must provide an environment that supports people bringing their whole selves to work. Employees’ lives outside the workplace can inform and enhance business performance so companies will be well-served to recognize employees’ distinctive characteristics and take a segmented, customized approach to talent.

What and where is post-digital global HR? The role of HR/talent professionals has needed to shift to a more strategic and advisory role for a long time, partly due to the reality that so much work in business organizations is becoming automated by the use of technology. HR and talent leaders have a unique opportunity to redefine talent for these new business realities.

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