Lessons from the front lines of talent

There are three critical talent trends that will impact business over the remainder of the decade and HR needs to take a proactive approach in helping workforces and organisations adapt, according to leadership expert Herminia Ibarra.

The first of these critical talent trends affecting companies is the frequency of job and career changes, which Ibarra said is driven by people wanting one or more of three things: more meaning in what they do, more challenge and more flexibility.

“Companies need to pay attention to this trend, because if talented people are leaving they need to understand why and focus on addressing this,” she said.

The second trend is what Ibarra calls “do it yourself transition”.

“By this I mean that peoples’ jobs are growing a lot, and the expectations for what kind of leadership they provide are also changing a lot – without there necessarily being a move to a different job or post or title,” said Ibarra, who serves as professor of organisational behaviour and the Cora Chaired professor of leadership and learning at INSEAD.

As such, she said people need help in figuring out how they can grow and stretch, particularly given they may not be ready to change and adapt as organisations restructure, consolidate or reorganise across geographies.

“HR needs to get better at collecting and analysing data on itself”

The third important talent trend is diversity, according to Ibarra.

“We know now that the entry level talent pool is becoming more and more diverse, whether it be in terms of culture, gender or race,” she said.

“Companies still need a lot of help in trying to figure out how to develop a broader range of talent and support talent which looks different to their existing talent base.”

HR executives can take a number of steps to develop a strong commercial HR strategy in response to these trends, said Ibarra.

“HR needs to get better at collecting and analysing data on itself, so that it has information to figure out what skills are really needed in order to make a difference in business,” she said.

Google, for example, has used their own big data capabilities to analyse performance reviews and feedback to narrow in on what’s making a difference in people’s performance.

“What they found wasn’t necessarily surprising, but they were better able to sell to their people the need to develop in certain areas, because it was based on data,” she said.

“Having a compelling case, based on data, is always the best selling point for HR in trying to get initiatives across the line.”

For the full interview with Ibarra see the next issue of Inside HR magazine.