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These Are the 3 Biggest Trends in Workforce Innovation

Keeping up with the changing world requires constant innovation — and this includes hiring. Evolving technology, the shifting generational makeup of the workforce, and a candidate-centric market[...]

February 18, 2020

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The Future of Talent Management and Valuing "The Stuff in People's Heads"

For a new era, new values

We have entered the Communications Age, and this era will continue to expand and evolve with the future of talent in 2020, 2030, 2040 and 2050, because this is also the age of knowledge, the computer, the Internet. Increasingly, businesses are no longer valuing their assets in terms of widgets and capital, they are measuring the information possessed by emerging talent. This is why organizations have begun investing heavily in education and training. Yet, it also creates a greater degree of uncertainty and volatility for employers with more control being gained by workers. Thought-leading talent recognize their worth. And their ability to choose new employers rises with the demand for what they know.

In the Conference Board’s 2013 survey, Microsoft executives were asked to break down the $375 billion market capitalization value of the company. They responded that $210 billion of their overall value came from “the stuff in people’s heads.” That’s 56 percent. And that’s a lot.

Compensation and benefits are no longer adequate incentives for workers. Layered, top-down management structures have moldered into archaic relics when it comes to retaining, motivating and optimizing the potential of modern talent.

Circles make better wheels than triangles

If the world moves at the speed of business, the wheels of enterprise must rotate efficiently. So why do some organizations still hold fast to the idea of pyramid-shaped business models that restrict movement to only two directions? In a truly global system of commerce and interactions, business and talent must both be capable of matching the movements of the world, in 360 degrees.

Cutting edge companies across the planet are adopting unconventional business methodologies that produce direct results with increased efficiency, time management and higher morale. As we discuss in our new eBook “The Future of Talent in the Contingent Workforce,” the once standard pyramid structure of management is being discarded with greater frequency in today’s corporate culture. Companies at the precipice of innovation have abandoned top-down, command and control, multi-layered management structures (pyramids) because they have proven to accomplish much less in terms of retaining and maximizing the potential of today’s workforce. Successful operating officers, business strategists and organizations agree that the concept of self-directed teams has become one of the most influential and productive business models today.

One fallacy of management is in thinking that its role is to stand over workers and tell them how to do their jobs. Workers are recruited, assessed and trained to do their jobs. They are the experts of their jobs. The role of management is to communicate the organization’s goals and to elicit and provide the resources their workers need in order to meet those objectives. The managers are also the central communication point for documenting and reporting the progress, milestones and deliverables.

Clusters instead of cubicles

As businesses reshape their operations to agile models of client-centric, self-directed teams, they focus more on the aspects of project-based work -- of clusters, an idea championed last year by Dave Aron, vice president of the Gartner CIO Research group. Aron predicts that “by 2020, 30 percent of the work will be performed by permanently employed, self-managed clusters.” And the fluid nature of clusters seems ideally suited to the now permanent and steadily growing contingent workforce. Clustered talent collectives inspire a wealth of benefits.

• Higher levels of business performance through high motivation: purpose, autonomy and mastery drive performance.
• Higher levels of business performance through a custom work environment: clusters blossom around the varied and unique skills of the talent, and they are unencumbered by the typical bureaucracy of corporate structures; they fulfill diverse needs.
• Cost effective talent management: the cluster removes the burden of team and individual worker management from the business.
• Greater employee satisfaction: because clusters are small and congressional, the talent develops a greater sense of kinship with other members, retains a sense of autonomy and works to bolster the development of peers in the group.

Reimagining Maslow’s hierarchy of needs

Companies that have abandoned top-down hierarchical structures empower their talent to exercise greater degrees of initiative, alignment with internal and external customer needs, and assume more personal accountability for their performance. In this new business context, the working needs of employees begin to meld seamlessly with psychological and social drivers. This is particularly crucial because the workforce of the near future will be sculpted from the clay of the millennial generation, those young individuals who spurred the revolution of social media.

As we have examined in recent posts, the next-generation business environment will flourish from greater levels of intrapreneurialism, socialization and innovation. The transactional nature of work will give way to a culture of interactions. Yet, when rebuilding or renovating a business culture, we can’t simply define it, implement it and then let it run on its own volition. The next iterations of business will thrive because of the new talent, who must be supported and given the resources to succeed: tools, education, protocols and encouragement. In fact, we can redefine and renovate Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to this new theory of human motivation.

Physiological needs: The tools, resources and proper equipment needed to perform the work, in an environment conducive to work. For remote talent, concessions should still be made to ensure that these workers have access to the corporate networks, domains, connections and communications systems required. Equitable compensation -- linked to performance, not tenure or rank -- is equally important.

Safety: A healthy working environment that is clean, well-lit and provides adequate space. Security also entails the protection of intellectual property, a safe forum for the free expression of ideas required to innovate, and people who care and communicate honestly.

Love and belonging: Being treated as business partners and sharing equity in some form. Opportunities to grow and learn, with paths to positions of greater responsibility and organizational value, help talent foster a sense of place and fit. New generations of talent seek social connectivity and thrive when working with colleagues whose goals, professionally and personally, are aligned.

Esteem: Understanding how the work relates to the realization of the company’s ultimate goals. In many recent industry studies, young talent rank recognition for a job well done above financial remuneration. They seek opportunities to achieve results that surpass expectations, not merely meet standards. And they want to be appreciated for their contributions, with encouragement to continue innovating solutions and growing the business.

Self-actualization: Taking responsibility for one’s own actions and earning trust. Despite past misconceptions of Millennials as selfish, entitled and narcissistic, they take pride in ownership and hold themselves accountable for their performance. Although they value self-expression, they are not self-absorbed. A feeling of ownership, pride and accountability for outcomes infuses everything they do. They have a well-defined and shared sense of morality, creativity, spontaneity, problem solving, lack of prejudice and embracing of facts.

The talent of the future embrace the idea that every stakeholder is part of a greater process and holds an equal share of gain or loss for the work. They don’t view themselves merely as delegates far down the chain of command; though mindful of their positions and rank, they understand that their contributions to the business are vital and impactful. This level of personal responsibility and goal achievement will drive the success of organizations now and in the future.

Sunil Bagai
Sunil Bagai
Sunil is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, thought leader and influencer who is transforming the way companies think about and acquire talent. Blending vision, technology and business skills honed in the most innovative corporate environments, he has launched a new model for recruitment called Crowdstaffing which is being tapped successfully top global brands. Sunil is passionate about building a company that provides value to the complete staffing ecosystem including clients, candidates and recruiters.
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