5 Important Things We Learned from the FuelX Talent Mobility Conference

If this wasn’t clear before the 2021 FuelX Virtual Talent Mobility Conference, it should be now — organizations everywhere need to transform their talent experience because you MUST be ready to deal with whatever tomorrow may bring.

Speaker after speaker not only made that point but also challenged conference attendees to open their minds to the innovative workplace practices that are changing — and dramatically driving — our businesses and organizations today.

Sometimes, it takes a sobering realization of what is facing you before you can really get serious about the challenge that’s ahead.

With that in mind, here are five (5) important things we learned at the FuelX Talent Mobility Conference that may help:

1. Talent marketplaces are critical to retaining today’s employees

Global technology analyst Josh Bersin talked about how the talent marketplace is central to everything:

We need organizations that can create human resilience and engagement … what we have discovered over the past 15 months is that the underlying management change is a focus on empathy, trust, listening, and caring for people … creating an experience that is developmental, enjoyable, flexible, and empowering … The talent marketplace is becoming the center of everything, and the marketplace model is changing everything … the job market and labor market is forcing companies to (take) a marketplace approach.”

Deloitte Vice Presidents Denise Moulton and Julie Hiipakka used Deloitte research to show how our work today is transforming beyond the organizational chart — and why talent marketplaces are so very important:

“The very nature of work itself has fundamentally evolved … it is, increasingly, about solving unforeseen problems, responding to the unpredictable, and teams are more critical today than ever before. Most orgs these days are aware that people today are working in ways that transcend the org chart. … “With a talent marketplace, you may give employees that lifeline just in time — before they get disengaged and start looking for another job …”

2. The “human side” of talent management has never been more important

Managing people has always been important, but maybe never as important as it is today.

Dr. Kelly Monahan, Global Lead Talent Researcher for Accenture, presented research that showed there are a number of workforce issues that are front and center today that are dramatically different from what people were focused on 15 months ago BEFORE the pandemic started.

One that she mentioned — the skills shortage that so many employers are struggling with — was described in the research as “a workforce in flux,” and she made the case that “There is a digital skills gap … and once things settle down again, there will be a workforce exodus … the pandemic has accelerated the need for workers to find new skills.

That led to her key point about the need for more humanity in how organizations deal with their workforce:

More and more people are demanding more from their workers and businesses … because of the high talent need, people will make different decisions about who they work for. … “All of our lives have been upended … our day-to-day is no longer normal … the human side of what we do has never become more important …”

3. A key element: helping employees finding “meaning” at work

Talent marketplaces have taken on greater importance as business leaders come to terms with the fact that helping employees acquire greater skills and a solid career path are key elements in every organization’s retention strategy.

Nobody knows this better than Dave Ulrich, the well-known author, University of Michigan professor, and co-founder of The RBL Group, a human resources and leadership consultancy.

He told the FuelX audience that,

We need to change how we think about talent. Our people are our most important asset (but) our people are our customer’s/patient’s most important asset too. We want our employees to feel better so our customers have a better experience. We want our people to have a great career so our customers have a better experience. This is a critical way for us to think. Talent matters! People are central to the business.”

Finding meaning in work has become a key element for today’s employees, especially the younger generations.

How can we help them do that? Ulrich said, “Create a line of sight between employee beliefs and organization purpose. Determine what values matter most to employees …  and meet those values at work.”

4. Want employees to REALLY succeed? Then give them the right tools

A number of speakers at the FuelX Talent Mobility Conference talked about the importance of giving employees the tools they need to succeed, and many of them pointed to Fuel50’s internal talent marketplace as a critical element in their success.

One insightful comment came from Madison Square Garden’s Carolyn Rooney, Senior Director of Leadership and Talent Development, and Marina Sideli, MSG’s Senior Specialist of People Development.

They told the FuelX audience that,

We went from selling out to lights out in the blink of an eye” in 2020 when the pandemic and lockdown happened. “It challenged every part of our work … and it challenged our employees and the future success of our company as well … internal mobility is a big focus for us, and Fuel50 helps us to do that. We can better leverage the tools and resources to make that possible.”

5. Want better retention? You need to focus on engagement first

Better retention and engagement were topics that flowed through many of the presentations at FuelX, but few described the process better than Dorothy Arturi, Chief People Officer at Q4, a Toronto-based provider of cloud-based investor relations and capital market solutions.

She talked about how Q4’s initial focus on retention and the employee experience led to the realization that as important as those issues were, you couldn’t really improve them without also focusing on employee engagement first.

“In our focus on the employee experience, we dug into not only why people join us but also why people leave. What came to light was that people are leaving because they don’t have the transparency around their future potential in the company. We needed to solve that problem to improve retention … Fuel50 inspired us to take a larger look at the entire engagement process and the employee experience from onboarding to offboarding … we wanted to empower our employees to be able to talk about their career progression. Those were difficult conversations before Fuel50, but now we have more powerful and professional conversations …”

FuelX – Transforming the people experience

Transforming the people experience isn’t easy, but these are just a few of the suggestions from the FuelX conference that may help on your organization’s journey to do that.

Fuel50 CEO Anne Fulton made the case that Fuel50’s dream is to transform the people experience for organizations everywhere. She put it like this:

“Our utopia is for every person to have the opportunity to contribute and grow their talents. To us, a fair, humanitarian, powerful, and energized work experience delivers impact for everyone – employees, organizations, and their customers.”

Fuel50 Talent Mobility Benchmarking Study
Fuel50 Talent Mobility Benchmarking Study 2021

Fuel50 has a deep commitment to improving internal talent mobility, creating better career experiences, and future-ready workforces. We would love your input to understand current and best practices in internal talent mobility and workforce reskilling across the globe. Be part of the study by completing our engaging survey and be the first to receive our raw data report and Internal Talent Mobility research paper later this year.

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