There is an opportunity right now to change the way we have always operated and to build upon a talent infrastructure that is more agile and culturally responsive. It is time to apply new ways of supporting the workforce by keeping in mind the following best practices:
Look Inside First
Internal talent mobility should be a top agenda item. In fact, we have a responsibility to our people to look internally before externally. With highly stressed labor market forces, it is important to review who we have internally, the people with existing employment and “psychological” contracts, within our business, first. This provides workers with the opportunities for skill and career development, driving up engagement, motivation, and retention, while enabling talent optimization during peaks and valleys of demand.
Maintain Transparency to Ensure Diversity, Fairness, and Inclusivity
‘Unfairness based turnover’ is a $16 billion a year problem, i.e. people leaving positions because of unfair treatment. According to the Kapor Center for Social Impact, it is critically important to ensure that internal talent mobility practices promote equal and fair opportunities for all. These metrics fall into the following categories:
- Representation: what percentage of internal hires are being represented by minority groups?
- ‘Nature of Mobility’ versus D&I: how does the ‘nature of mobility’ differ across different demographic groups?
In short, diversity and inclusion metrics should complement other HR policies. With all these metrics, assign responsibility and establish accountability for monitoring every strategy implemented, and then analyze and track the results to ensure progress is being made. The most impact will be felt not only if we measure results but also if we report them to managers, employees, and other stakeholders involved for maximum transparency.
Make Inclusive Talent Decisions
When recommending a person for a vacancy or assignment, it must be above reproach and challenge-proof. Make sure the selection of people is always defensible and that you have sourced the proper evidence to support your suggestions. We not only need to be sure that the best candidate is found but also that they will support the organization in its goals for diversity and inclusion.
Walk In Their Shoes: It’s Time to Be Humane and Empathetic
We have more individual real-world challenges as our personal and professional lives merge. No two people have the same two challenges globally, so we need to personalize our talent practices and people experiences based on the circumstances of each individual in our organization. Technology can help us do this at scale.
Create a Democratic Workplace
Democratic does also imply inclusiveness, but the lens here is that everyone has an equal opportunity to participate and have a voice. An employee-centric, bottom-up, and employee-driven approach (1) is required. When workers are allowed more freedom and options around how they contribute to the workplace, it is self-sustaining and they can select work that best suits them. This flexibility helps them get unstuck from narrowly defined roles and the mundane that comes with doing the same set of responsibilities day after day.
Don’t Just Connect – Enable Connections
The collaborative and connective tissue that has reinforced great cultural environments like the “water cooler” chats, after-work happy hours, and off-site has been lost. We must build new inclusive talent practices for learning, career opportunities, and engagement with mentors, peers, and teammates. This is best achieved with a digitally enabled opportunity marketplace place, that allows mentors, learners, and colleagues to connect.
Use Ethical AI and Inclusive Approaches to Opportunity Matching AI
More than ever, we need to take care around how we are matching people to opportunities digitally. We need to carefully examine our paradigms and lens on talent to ensure we are supporting important business principles and values. When applying AI, organizations should consider the following (2):
- Invest in systems that optimize for fairness and accuracy. Deploying more dynamic and personalized scoring algorithms that are sensitive as much to accuracy as to fairness, optimizing for a mix of both.
- Follow the same laws, as well as data collection and usage practices, that are used in traditional hiring. Any data that shouldn’t be collected or included in a traditional hiring process for legal or ethical reasons should not be used by AI systems. Private information about physical, mental, or emotional conditions, genetic information, and substance use or abuse should never be entered.
Building an agile workforce is more than a business continuity strategy; it is a mandatory people strategy to support strategic business objectives and competitive demands. Having a sound organizational development and digital talent strategy will help mitigate talent waste, unwanted churn, and disengagement, while promoting transparency, trust, and shared ownership of capabilities and development. Most importantly, the democratization of development opportunities and commitment to internal talent mobility is a clear and compelling value proposition from any organization. It is proof that leadership views and invests in people as value-driving, dynamic and evolving, motivated to grow, and foundational to overall business strategy. The smartest organizations will build their internal talent mobility engine in conjunction with the talent that desperately wants to participate in the process, their future, and the larger performance of the business. This is the kind of business and talent agility that the Now of Work demands.
1. Increase Business Agility with an Internal Talent Marketplace May 2020
2. Building Ethical AI for Talent Management November 2019
About the Author
Jason Averbook is a global keynote speaker, industry analyst, thought leader, and consultant in the area of human resources and workforce experience. He is the co-founder and CEO of Leapgen, a digital transformation shaping the future of work. Author of The Ultimate Guide to a Digital Workforce Experience ~ Leap for a Purpose, Jason seeks to broaden executive mindset to rethink how to better design and deliver employee services that exceed the expectations of the workforce and the needs of the business.
Prior to founding Leapgen, Jason served as the CEO of The Marcus Buckingham Company (TMBC). In 2005, he co-founded Knowledge Infusion LLC and served as its CEO until 2012, when the company was sold to Appirio. Earlier in his career, he served as the Chief Business Innovation Officer at Appirio Inc., where he led the HCM business. He has also held senior leadership roles at PeopleSoft and Ceridian Corporation. Jason has more than 20 years of experience in the HR and technology industries and has collaborated with industry-leading companies in transforming their HR organizations into strategic partners.