Matching motivations: insights into talent strategy

At various times in life it's common to stop and think. About life, work, needs and desires. Having recently passed a milestone birthday I've done just that! Many people I know have already worked for 20-25 years, but there is at least 20 years to go until pension age! On the other hand, as I look to Marketing Leaders Programme, its 10th year about to kick off next month, I can't help to think about a whole other generation of people who are in a very different, very exciting sweet spot in their career … and even younger still the set of Generation Y new graduates who are just setting out now for their first entry role. No matter what group you're from, when it comes to looking at your career the question remains fundamentally the same:

'What do I want my future to be and how do I best equip myself to get there?'

Although in a work context, this is not about work, it's about life! This question is about matching the motivations, goals and dreams of a person, with those of a current or future employer.

There is a growing awareness within businesses that their people are their competitive advantage. The task of recruiting, developing and retaining talented people is a huge challenge, one that needs to be integrated into a company's overall business goals and strategy. How companies manage talent today is being impacted in a number of different ways:

1. Unprecedented market complexity and constant change

  • All organisations need to have foresight, in order to predict what talent and skills are going to be critical to success in the future. Even as I write this, the profile of the future Marketer is changing, moving towards someone who is not only digital savvy, but someone who can go deeper with data analytics than was ever expected before.
  • The talent pipeline needs to able to accommodate change and the talent themselves need to be able to respond quickly to fast moving trends.
  • To build an agile team in the first place, companies need to look at the underlying characteristics that will facilitate these capabilities, already amongst their graduate level intakes. A talent decision made today will have implications for many years to come.

2. A huge shift towards the growth markets of the world

  • In emerging markets we are seeing a shift from 'capitalism' to what has been described as 'talentism' by Karl Schwab, Head of the World Economic Forum. We are entering an era where human capital - skills and capabilities - will be the driving force behind all developments.
  • The challenge of finding and deploying the right talent in emerging markets is huge. The starting point is a big talent gap at the grass roots, where businesses will need to collaborate with local governments, as well as each other, to start supporting and developing local communities. Later they will be able to compete for the talent they develop, it's a long term game.

3. A need to nurture and grow a new generation of professionals with different needs and expectations

  • Attracting Generation Y (= the generation born in the 80's and 90's, typically regarded as more digitally & technologically savvy) can be a challenge. Much more so than in the past, they want to understand the values of a company they are approaching. If you really are going for the best of the best candidates, understand that they will be far more selective in their choice.
  • Once GenY are on-board in a business, it will be evident that they operate differently. Multitasking is taken for granted and they are more likely to prefer project based, collaborative work. Companies will need to structure themselves differently to accommodate this new way of working, as well as trying out new methodologies. One example of this is 'disruptive learning', which aims to stretch people by providing them with opportunities outside of the direct work place i.e. short placements in other companies or working for a charity.
  • But most challenging of all is how to retain GenY. We know they value learning development opportunities more than salary and that by the time they turn 35 they could have changed jobs on average 14 times! From a talent management perspective this will keep future employers on their toes.

So what is your talent management strategy? Does it feel future proof? What conversations might your employees have with friends and family right now about what they want their future to be?

A new year has started – a good opportunity to align on an exciting future for everyone.


For more information about how Brand Learning can help you lift your organisation’s HR capabilities, please get in touch or contact me directly @NinaHoldaway. You may also like these films, perspectives and resources on HR.

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