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May 13, 2019Read More
The pyramids of Egypt are without a doubt a wonder of the ancient world. We still marvel at the feats of engineering and manpower that went in to their creation. However, there is a reason we don't build pyramids anymore. Modern design and construction methods serve the needs of people and businesses today in a way that pyramids never could.
Similarly, the pyramid model of staff management served its purpose for many years; but in today's modern business world, it is simply no longer the smartest way to do business. Nor is it the best way to get the most of our the talent on your team.
This article is an excerpt from our eBook "The Future of Talent in the Contingent Workforce". If you want to learn more on this topic, then please download our eBook.
Leveling the Pyramid
We have entered the Communications Age. This era will continue to expand and evolve with the future of talent, 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 (Learn more about hiring for fit and training for skills). 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.
Self-directed team models: concentric vs. pyramidal
The model of self-directed teams allows managers to flourish in this capacity. One important aspect of self-directed teams is that they are not created from a pool of members exclusive to the department involved in or affected by the project. Employees from other departments have skills, knowledge, abilities and experience that may ideally suit the project. For example, a member of Marketing and a member of Customer Care may have the skills necessary to assist in an Operations project. Teams, therefore, may be comprised of members from overlapping departments who are tasked with a specific project or issue.
So what does this have to do with the future of talent? Everything. 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. The future of talent, Aron prophesied, will spring from clusters.
• Clusters are populated by talent with established shared values, work practices, tools, roles and identified strengths or proficiencies.
• Clusters seek disparate skills, experiences, personalities, values and fields to ensure high performance, a robust offering and to instill balance, which fosters consensus in ideas.
• Clusters are self-managed: the cluster hires and fires members internally, governs itself, resolves conflicts, develops sustainable practices and tools and manages its interactions and engagement with other clusters serving the customer.
The values delivered by clusters closely mirror the best practices and ideals of self-directed teams.
• 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.
Aron predicts that “by 2020, 30 percent of the work will be performed by permanently employed, self-managed clusters.”
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. In fact, we can redefine and renovate Abraham Maslow’s landmark hierarchy of needs to this new theory of human motivation.
These themes were most recently echoed at the June 2014 IESE HR Think Tank gathering in Barcelona, Spain. HR’s role in the future of talent must be transformative. Learn more about the futur