Building a People Ecosystem to Develop “Future-Skill” Workforce

August 31, 20158:00 am1605 views

What does it take to build people ecosystem to develop “future-skill” workforce? From new expectations for global collaboration and work/life balance, to hypercompetitive employee monitoring and rating processes, to the eclipse of full-time salaried jobs by the “gig economy,” this year has sparked multiple public conversations on the technology-led transformation of jobs, careers, and the workplace.

More significantly, perhaps, leading companies are engaged in a parallel dialog behind the scenes—one that will define how they attract, develop and retain their workforces for decades to come. The recent report titled, ‘Future-Skilling Your Workforce’ published by The Conference Board examines in details many factors that are impacting the productivity levels, performance and efficiency of the workforce of tomorrow.

These factors include – technological, macroeconomic, demographic, environmental, and more—now reshaping corporate talent strategies.

Amy Lui Abel, managing director of human capital at The Conference Board and a co-author of the report says, “HR and talent professionals need to break down silos and look at their efforts holistically—with functions like recruitment, compensation, and training becoming integrated talent processes aligned to a clear business strategy.”

What is a People Ecosystem? How to develop it?

Developing a people ecosystem requires linking all elements of a talent strategy to each other, enterprise-wide concerns, and external trends and risks. Like its name suggests, this ecosystem concept is envisioned as a living, interconnected structure that anticipates disruptive changes and responds with maximum agility and resilience.

Abel added: “Likewise, employees can no longer be seen as isolated points in a hierarchical organisational chart, but rather nodes in a web of networks sprawled across the organization, and beyond. Today’s rapidly changing business environment demands a talent strategy that maximizes agility and flexibility; companies that fail to adapt will find themselves increasingly unable to compete.”

See: Prediction: The Workforce in 2020

3 Essential Components to Develop a People Ecosystem

  1. Strategic Talent Planning (STP): Looming labor shortages mean businesses must become more programmatic about identifying challenges, evaluating options, and considering alternatives. Instead of a static need to be filled as quickly as possible, every opening is a chance to reassess and perhaps realign talent strategy with enterprise goals. This proceeds in five stages:
  • Assess business context
  • Prioritize Issues
  • Form hypothesis and perform root cause analysis
  • Design, develop, and execute
  • Measure and evaluate
  1. Results-Focused Execution: No matter how rigorous the five stages of STP, they’re useless without a robust execution plan, tailored to the specific needs and resources of an organization. The possible plan components—both time-tested and cutting-edge—across three stages of execution: attract and acquire, connect and develop, and continuously monitor and optimize. Throughout, the focus is not only on mobilizing the talent required to meet the business goal at hand, but also strengthening the sense of partnership between employees and the organization.
  1. Strategic Talent Development and Learning: In an era where untold lifetimes of knowledge are just a click away, workplace learning needs to be democratic, organic, and tailored to an employee’s individual “experience”. To meet this standard, a corporate Learning and Development (L&D) function must: align with overall business strategy; have a comprehensive understanding of the learner experience, especially that of younger generations; and be subject to effective governance systems, with executive buy-in, sponsorship, metrics, and control.

Co-author of the report, Sherlin Nair adds, “From baby-boomer retirement and falling fertility rates to unprepared graduates and the rise of robots in the workplace, today’s HR strategists must balance a dense ecology of long-term demographic forces and socio-cultural pressure points alongside all the traditional internal and marketplace factors.”

“No single executive or department can master these currents on their own. Only a highly distributed, interconnected, and self-adaptive approach—an ecosystem approach—will ensure sufficient, sustainable talent pools in the long run.”

Also read: HR Tools to Attract, Empower and Retain Tomorrow’s Workforce

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