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FuelX 2021 Day 2: We Need to Change How We Think About Talent… and Careers

Sometimes, great words of wisdom hit you when you least expect it. 

And that’s how it seemed to go at Day 2 of the FuelX Talent Mobility Conference by Fuel50. 

Although it’s never surprising to hear a great conference speaker, the Day 1 speakers at the Spring 2021 FuelX event were vibrant, engaging, and full of timely insights about workforce reskilling and internal talent mobility.  

Day 2’s lineup had a lot to measure up to — and they didn’t disappoint.  

For example, Larry McAlister, Vice President of Global Talent at NetApp, kicked off Day 2 of FuelX with a session titled Thriving Anywhere: Doing the Best Work of Your Career from your Kitchen Table.  

He explained NetApp’s talent transformation with the help of Fuel50. 

It’s a new landscape .. . for how you think about your career

At the beginning, Larry and the leadership team at NetApp came to a sobering realization — “We’re flying blind. We don’t know anything. If we don’t get a better fix on how talent operates, we’re going to lose. 

The next step, they decided, was this — “We need high performing teams that work together to grow and transform this business.” They also discovered something else: “Our talent strategy MUST include ways to enable and encourage employees to build strategically-relevant skills and experiences inside the organization.” 

After holding a “tech parade” with six vendors coming in to show NetApp what they could do, the NetApp management team settled on Fuel50 to help them build out an internal marketplace that they ended up calling Mosaic. 

What did NetApp get from an Internal Marketplace (Mosaic) powered by Fuel50? Here’s what they found:  

  • It connected the right talent with the right internal opportunity; 
  • It helped build scarce, in-demand skills in-house; 
  • It addressed shorter shelf-life of future-oriented skills; 
  • It tapped into employees’ underutilized/unseen skill sets; 
  • It supports more agile, project-based way of working; 
  • It elevates skills — not a job title — as the new currency; 
  • It provides career growth for employees; and, 
  • It helps promote equity and inclusion, as well as increased diversity. 

Although Mosaic has just rolled out to NetApp employees in the last two months, the response to it has exceeded all expectations. The hope was that 30% of employees would utilize it in the first month. Instead, 30% dug into it in Week 1, and 50% in the first month. 

As Larry noted, “It’s more than just finding your next job. It’s a new landscape for how you think about your career, your skills and your development.” 

Deloitte Talent Marketplaces

Giving employees a lifeline … before they get disengaged

Deloitte Vice Presidents Denise Moulton and Julie Hiipakka talked about Talent Marketplaces: The New Journey for Workers, and they led off with this: 

Deloitte’s 2021 Human Capital Trends Report found that 97% of survey respondents said they “are considering work transformation (through reimagination, redesign, or optimization) in the next three years,” but only “56% percent indicate (that) their organization is currently ready to adapt, reskill, and help their people assume new roles.”  

As Denise noted, “That’s a problem … but also a wonderful opportunity when it comes to a talent marketplace.” 

Talent marketplaces can enable the mutually beneficial deployment of talent – through which individuals can match their capabilities, interests, and preferences with available work and teams can identify cross-functional talent to support their work needs.  

Julie added this: “With a talent marketplace, you may give employees that lifeline just in time — before they get disengaged and start looking for another job …” 

They also pointed out that marketplaces help people find work beyond their network, and when (a marketplace) is done well, it builds ways for people to build a better network and collaborate more with the larger team environment.” 

As you might expect with a consulting company like Deloitte, Denise and Julie also had lots of great research and data in their presentation that came from Deloitte’s 2021 Human Capital Trends Report. It added great, real-time data that supported their discussion points in a major way. 

A Masterclass with Dave Ulrich

Following the Deloitte VPs was someone who speaks at a lot of conferences and usually doesn’t need much introduction — Dave Ulrich, University of Michigan Professor, Author, and Co-Founder, The RBL Group. He spoke on Talent … Next: How to increase the Impact of Your Talent Initiatives. 

For those who have never heard him speak, Dave Ulrich has written 30 books on human resources, speaks frequently at HR and talent management conferences, and was named the most influential thinker in HR of the decade by HR Magazine. He puts a lot into his presentations, and that was true at FuelX as well. 

Here’s a little of what he said: 

  • “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.” 

Will there be a job exodus when the pandemic lockdown eases? I don’t know. I do know a trend — personalization. People need to be attended to in a personal way. When they feel leaders treat them with empathy and respect, they will stay. And if their experience gets personalized to them, they will probably stay …

  • “Remote work is not new, but Covid has made us work more with technology  … The gig economy will continue. Now, work is not a place, but there is a boundary and the boundary now is value. What did you do today that created value for a customer? If you don’t have an answer, you didn’t do a good job today, and we didn’t help you to … The boundary of work is not a place but our ability to build value for our customers. The gig economy will grow within that boundary …” 

In the Zoom chat box, someone asked, “How are you finding this session?” One conference attendee wrote — “Masterclass with Dave Ulrich ... can’t beat it!” 

Transformational stories

Next up, a panel discussion focused on Workforce Transformation Stories from a CPO & VP of Talent Panel that included Laura Peterson, VP of Global Talent and Organizational Development, at RTI International; Kimberly Sisnett, Chief People Officer at Waystar; and Dorothy Arturi, Chief People Officer of Q4 Inc. 

Here’s a little of what they had to say — 

From Kimberly Sisnett of WaystarWe are on a journey to simplify health care payments. We help patients understand what they are paying for and why … employees told us they wanted mobility options … and meaningful conversations around career pathing …we listen to our stakeholders and shareholders, and that is how we first engaged with Fuel50 … it’s only six weeks since our launch but we have already seen some incredible indicators  

From Laura Peterson of RTI: “Fuel50 helps us find what are the skills in high demand, and what should we be focused on as a learning organization? We also ask – How are we using that to support our business leaders?  (Fuel50) has also lowered the bias … and opened up the space for people to give more feedback and talk about talent …  

From Dorothy Arturi of Q4In 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  Those were difficult conversations before Fuel50, but now we have more powerful and professional conversations …” 

Chris Havrilla FuelX

Shifting from survive to thrive

One of the very best presentations came late on Day 2 from Chris Havrilla, Vice President of HR Technology and Solution Provider Strategy at Deloitte. 

Her session title — The Social Enterprise in a World Disrupted: Leading the Shift from Survive to Thrive — was provocative enough to grab attendees but add in the fact that she was talking about Deloitte’s 2021 Global Human Capital Trends with fresh research from over 6,000 HR and business leaders (with the majority — 56% — from the business side), well, that will surely grab anyone looking to watch FuelX on demand as well. 

There were lots of key findings throughout her presentation — too many to do justice to here — but this one seemed relevant to just about everyone: 

Key Finding – Executives say their organization’s ability to navigate future disruptions will rely on distinctly human capabilities. 

That’s not a big surprise, of course, but the two priorities that flowed out of that data point were something to consider: 

  • TOP PRIORITY — The ability of their people to adapt, reskill, and assume new roles … (but) only 17% are very ready. 
  • SECOND PRIORITY — The ability to organize and manage work in a way that facilitates rapid decision-making. Only 25% are very ready. 

The Deloitte 2021 Global Human Capital Trends research is probably worth getting your hands on if you want more of these kind of workplace insights. 

HR.com Infographic - FuelX

Research and wrap-up

HR.com‘s Chief Research Analyst Mark Vickers had a quick session on Unlock Organizational Potential Through Superior Internal Mobility that ran though The State of Internal Mobility, Succession, and Career Development 2020, HR.com research sponsored by Fuel50. 

One of the most interesting sections was on “Internal Mobility: An Underestimated Challenge.” Here are the findings: 

  • Only about half of HR pros say their organization has an effective process for managing internal mobility, and even that may be an overestimate.  
  • Six in ten HR professionals think their organizations do not view internal mobility as being of high importance, an issue potentially driving down effectiveness.  
  • Internal mobility leaders are over twice as likely to say internal mobility is important to their organization. A lot of orgs assume that intern mob will take care of itself … but that’s a wrong assumption. 
  • Only one-fifth say there is considerable internal mobility in their organization. 

It was a quick session with a LOT of information. You may want to get hold of the research here if you want to dig in and get more. 

Finally, Day 2 was wrapped up by Fuel50’s Anne Fulton, Founder & CEO and Jo Mills, Co-Founder & CXO. Their Insights Into the New Era of Internal Talent Mobility focused on the most insightful themes that speakers and presenters made over the two days of the conference. 

One that jumped out to Anne was the one from Deloitte’s Chris Havrilla. In her presentation she said, “This past year proved that, when faced with an unprecedented crisis, organizations and workers are capable of tremendous resilience under pressure. — They can adapt. They can pivot. They can survive.”  

As Anne Fulton put it, “This is an incredible rallying cry for all of us as we look forward. “ 

And she closed the conference with this: “We want to thank you for being part of your community … thanks so much for joining us here for these past two days … we want to continue the conversation into the future, and all of us here at Fuel50 want to be here to support the talent transformation within your organization.” 

Fuel50 Talent Mobility Benchmarking Study 2021
Fuel50 Talent Mobility Benchmarking Study 2021
Help us understand our new evolving world of work. 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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