‘Getting a Grip’ on Future Talent

You can help your company develop a sustainable competitive advantage by looking to the future, but acting NOW.

Humanity Works: Merging Technologies and People for the Workforce of the Future, gives us a plethora of insights about what the next 10 years will hold.  This new book by my colleague, Alex Levit, provides many ideas on how you can define your own future by understanding and getting ahead of some of these future trends.

Today, we will explore what you need to be thinking about regarding Onboarding and Retention.

We will explore the situation at Star Corp, our fictional company.

Here is what is happening at Star Corp:

  • Currently, there is no formal onboarding program across the whole organization. Some areas do have a limited program for some key roles but that doesn’t extend to the whole organization.
  • It is up to managers to do their own onboarding which results in inconsistent messages and there is no organization-wide follow-up.
  • No formal career paths exist in the organization and it is up to individual managers to have conversations with their employees.
  • Once employees are hired, there is lots of confusion about “what is next” and “how long would it take me to get there?”

Kirsten: Let’s tackle recruiting and onboarding first.  Given trends across millennials and the new Gen Z-ers, what is needed to attract the qualified employees that Star Corp is going to need in their organization?

Alex: Recruitment and onboarding are two different phases of what should ideally be separate but highly interconnected processes. PeopleResults recommends that Star Corp look to activate potential and new employees by sharing consistent employer brand messages, developing rapport, and customizing a career path that works both for the individual and the organization. And because younger employees tend to make quick judgments about where to apply and how long to stay, Star Corp should put time and thought into the candidate and new hire experiences so these younger professionals don’t fall through the cracks.

Kirsten: Once Star Corp’s employees have been hired and in position for a while, what do they need to be doing to retain their employees and keep them from walking out the door? Especially when certain skills and capabilities are going to become more and more important in the next 10 years.

Alex:  Star Corp should aim to become more flexible with the type of work arrangements offered to employees, and receptive to periodic dialing up and back of workload as lifestyle mandates. Leadership should keep talented staff in the company by encouraging lateral moves as well as promotions, and should actively take steps to upskill the Star Corp workforce via training and mentoring opportunities. Finally, a continuous feedback loop between managers, mentors, employees, and peers is essential to keep tabs on progress and ensure development goals are appropriate and fluid.

Kirsten:  If they do nothing else, what one thing would you recommend companies do today?

Alex:  Look at the specific trends poised to disrupt your industry. For some, it’s automation. For others, it’s the rise of the contract workforce and the changing nature of talent acquisition. For still others, it’s globalization. Pay attention to what forward-thinking organizations in your space are doing to stay ahead of these developments, and pilot a similar approach on one of your teams. Design metrics and measure success accordingly, and use your data to formulate a business case for organization-wide rollout.

Want to learn more about how your organization can improve its onboarding and retention strategies? Check out Alexandra Levit’s new book, Humanity Works: Merging Technologies and People for the Workforce of the Future.

Kirsten Jordan