Competing Through People  |  Aug 2012  Edition
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MAC 2011

 The New World of Talent:  Are You Ready?


A sobering survey report, recently published  by Oxford Economics, highlighted how global talent demand and supply will play out over the coming years.   Except for a few countries in Latin America and Central Asia, the demand for talent is projected to exceed the talent available.  The largest gaps will be in the US, Canada, and Europe.  China, Argentina and Mexico project a balance.


The survey participants identified how changes in technology, globalization, labor demographics, customer requirements and competition are effecting their talent requirements.  The impact is not limited to one industry as over 80% of respondents in all sectors reported that they have completed, are undergoing or plan to embark on transformations to their strategies, business models and organizations.


What do they see as the key skills demands over the next 5 to 10 years?  The top projected demands are:

  • Digital business skills and the ability to work virtually
  • The ability to prepare for multiple scenarios and to innovate
  • Co-creativity, brainstorming and relationship building
  • The ability to handle diverse employees and understand global markets

Are you ready for the new world of talent?  What can leaders do to make sure that talent is not a barrier to growth?  Read on for some ideas.


Put Strategy Before People 

What! Put strategy before people?  That sounds simply Orwellian! 

I am not suggesting that people are unimportant.  I am making the point that (particularly with the business environment described in the Oxford Economics report) leaders need to transform business strategy first.  Only then can they clearly understand the new demands that are placed on the organization and its talent.  And the typical strategy work of generating missions, visions, and SWOT analyses is probably not sufficient. 
Translating business strategy into talent demands is an important analytic step that many companies miss.  It must start with a strategic plan that is detailed and specific enough to be translated into organization requirements.  Here's a quick checklist to determine if your strategy is "translatable".
  • Has the organization's driving force been debated and agreed upon?  (Driving force is the way an organization exert s influence in it's selected markets.  And yes, non-profits have driving forces and markets)
  • Are key social, economic and technology drivers to the strategy identified?
  • Are products/services and the target markets clearly defined?
  • Does the plan contain a capabilities roadmap?
  • Have potential threats to the plan been defined and addressed?

Not sure how to build a translatable strategy?  Click here to read about keys to an effective strategic planning process.

Minding the Gap . . . in Talent


Building a strategy involves segmenting markets and customers.  To address the coming talent gap, critical roles and the competencies must also be segmented.  In other words, once the strategy is defined, the roles that are critical to achieving the strategy and the competencies needed in those roles must be determined. 
Its often tough for leaders to come to grips with the idea that not all roles in a company are created equal.  Good strategy work will make it obvious that certain roles will generate greater-than-average value for the organization and its target customers. These pivotal roles are different from company to company, based on strategy. 


Likewise, not all competencies are created equal. The knowledge, skills and abilities needed in a business driven by offering products or services to a wide range of markets are very different from an organization focused on serving all the needs of one market.  In addition, some competencies are less prevalent in the labor pool and are more difficult to develop.
Add this all up and it suggests that organizations will need to alter their talent practices to "mind the gap".  For example, based on the roles and the competencies, it may be more effective to develop existing talent than to try to hire a rare skill.  Knowing the key competencies can help define what to develop, who to develop, and how long it will take.
Do you know the kind of talent your company will need to execute its transformed strategy?
Coming Attractions
I will be speaking at the following conferences in the coming months.  Hope to see you there.

Ohio State HR Conference, Sandusky,  September 19 -21


PA State HR Conference, State College, September 25


Chester County HR Association, Downingtown, September 28


Pittsburgh HR Association Annual Conference, October 10


Greater Valley Forge HR Summit, October 19


Have a local organization that would be interested in having me present?  Just drop me a noteClick here to see the kinds of topics I've offered.

In This Edition
The New World of Talent
Putting Strategy Before People
Minding the Gap in Talent
Coming Attractions
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