5 steps to building a great talent mobility strategy

There are 5 important steps companies need to follow in order to facilitate better talent mobility

Most organisations across the Asia Pacific are currently unable to leverage talent mobility effectively, according to an expert in the area, who said there are five important steps companies and their HR functions need to adopt to facilitate better talent mobility.

Most organisations look at mobility as a reactive solution triggered, usually, by business growth or attrition, said Shakun Khanna, senior director, HCM strategy & transformation, Asia Pacific for Oracle.

He observed that only 10-12 per cent of organisations have mastered the “art of talent mobility” – which includes all movement of an employee during his/her career journey, within or outside an organisation.

“Lack of information is the biggest pitfall in the talent mobility process,” Khanna explained.

“And this is presented in multiple facets.

“Most companies do not have adequate information about their existing talent and their aspirations.”

According to Tapfin research, almost 80 per cent of organisations across Asia Pacific do not have real time, current data of who is working on their premises.

Khanna elaborated on an interesting case, in which a very large global IT firm was laying off people in one part of their business while hiring the same skill sets in another part of the business at the same time.

“This lack of information resulted in a huge loss for the organisation,” said Khanna, who was speaking ahead of a webinar on the practical steps HR professionals can take to improve talent mobility.

“Due to a lack of intelligent planning tools, organisations grossly miscalculate their talent requirements”

The other challenge is an organisation’s ability to predict its talent requirements.

“Due to a lack of intelligent planning tools, organisations grossly miscalculate their talent requirements.

“Often they end up hiring the wrong type of people at the wrong time and in the wrong place,” said Khanna, who gave the example of a large e-commerce company in India which hired a significant number of people with skills in a technology at a time when their board was talking about replacing that technology.

Khanna, who was the former CEO of Right Management in India and also served as head of IBM’s smarter workforce and head of employee engagement and leadership development for Gallup Consulting, cited research which found the newer generation may end up changing up to 7 careers and 22 jobs by the time they hit their retirement age.

“Imagine the loss if employers are not able to facilitate at least some of these movements within the organisation,” he said.

“Ironically, some organisations today do not consider an attrition to be avoidable or undesired if an individual has decided to make a career transition or pursue a different life goal.

“It sounds like the pigeon closing its eyes when the cat comes.”

He explained that this reactive approach locks the organisations in a vicious circle of mobilising talent both internally and externally.

“In the war for talent, the organisation that leverages talent mobility proactively will have a clear strategic advantage,” said Khanna.

“Innovation and competitiveness of the organisation will rise as employees will put in more discretionary effort”

There are five important steps that organisations need to take in order to improve talent mobility as well as their wider talent acquisition/retention strategies, Khanna said:

1. Talent insights: Organisations need to develop systems and processes that provide the talent insights. These insights need to be beyond factual data.

Organisations need to leverage analytics to bring predictive insights and leverage them for talent mobility.

2. Individual development plans: Organisations need to ensure that development paths are created, captured and updated regularly for all individuals in the organisation.

Growth and development are basic human needs and all employees work towards it. Talent mechanisms should be able to track and predict the moves of employees as they move towards their aspiration.

3. Periodic talent review: This will be the single most important process to move mobility from being reactive to proactive.

4. Develop a talent centric culture where decisions are made keeping the interest and aspiration of the employee in the centre.

Employees work to achieve their personal goals and in the process, produce business outcomes for the organisation and not the other way around.

5. Enable employees to own their careers: such that they choose how, when and where they work. Gartner predicts that “by 2020, organisations that support a ‘choose your own work’ style (CYOW) culture will boost employee retention rates by more than 10 per cent.”

Talent mobility can be a very potent tool that can enable HR leaders to attract the right kind of employees, put them in the jobs of their choice and drive higher performance, Khanna explained.

“Because of this, innovation and competitiveness of the organisation will rise as employees will put in more discretionary effort,” he said.

“To deliver this, organisations must relook at how they are tracking aspirations, enabling mobility and above all helping individuals achieve their life objectives.

“Digital HR and analytics are the most potent tools to do this and stop the leaking talent bucket.”

Image source: iStock