I have always thought that we, professionals of the Human Resource industry, must show respect, appreciation and assurance to ourselves and to all the business partners we interact with on a daily basis. We need to provide guarantees that we operate within a set of theories, structures and requirements that are in line with the working environment and the times we live in. It’s a matter of ethics and professionalism.
There is a significant risk of ending up like “Talent Acquisition” and “Talent Management”, which are still adopted by HR departments in modern companies that stick to an obsolete structure. And this is almost a certainty today.
The concept of talent described and depicted by Handfield, Axelrod, and Michaels in “The War for Talent” (2001), which redefined the structure of many HR Departments of the new millennium, has become often unsuitable nowadays, since it does’t reflect the current labor market and it’s inefficient when it comes to the daily challenges we face as Entrepreneurs and Companies. This kind of matrix packed with concepts related to being “exceptional”, having extraordinary skills and almost supernatural powers or being “the chosen ones”, the only bunch who can lead few enlighten companies to success, is definitely out of date and out of place. It’s ridiculous to even think about it.
The myth of Talent in Human Resource spread out far and beyond since then, and still today we struggle getting rid of this burden that I believe often fulfils the need we have to feel confident in the HR structure, the processes and the procedures we apply almost automatically in a Company.
Things are changing rapidly so it is crucial for HR professionals to get their heads around it and evolve accordingly, in order to preserve and reinforce their supporting and leading role, as well as the strategic alliance with Businesses, Entrepreneurs and more generally the role within Corporate Governance.
What is changing?
1. People, not Talent
True facts and real experience have proven that excellent academic achievements, IQ levels above average, exceptional intellectual processing or a strong desire to climb the ladder, are not necessarily signs of a successful employment and/or an outstanding performance. More often than not the key factors are different.
Whoever has managed a research and selection process knows that the critical factors for the successful employment of a resource rely exclusively on the candidate’s technical skills, which are absolutely necessary. However, there are multiple aspects that come into play and that have a substantial influence on the outcome, and those are related to the candidate’s personal characteristics, attitude, way of thinking, values, targets, expectations and last but not least, the matching between this set of intangible characteristics and the Company’s requirements for the job.
The best case scenario is the “perfect matching” between the characteristics, innate abilities, personal values and expectations of the resource, and those requested by the Company and the position.
So we are not actually looking for a talent but for a person.
2. Millennials Generation
By the year 2020 over a third of the global workers will be part of the Millennials and the forecast is that by 2025 this benchmark will rise up to nearly two thirds of the planet’s workforce.
The data calls for a serious assessment of the capacity of our businesses to attract, train, grow and engage the people of this generation and those to come. This assessment should be carried out unbiased and free of any prejudice against this population group.
Contrary to popular opinion, statistical analysis and studies show that generational differences between Baby Boomers, X Generation and Millennials didn’t bring about any relevant change to the level of satisfaction, engagement and commitment to the job and also didn’t affect the tendency to change jobs frequently across the different generations (Journal of Business ” Psychology – 2012 – Costanza” Coll. – Meta- analysis on 20.000 workers).
All studies prove that new generations give more importance to other aspects of the workplace, such as:
- Flexibility, and opportunities for change;
- Opportunity for growth and development;
- “Real-time” feedback in the form of daily coaching;
- Well-being, welfare and work-life balance that are meaningful and not just labels.
In brief, a job offer that is transparent and communicates clearly the values, the purpose, professional growth and career plans, opportunities for development and the mood within the company.
We need to change our perception of a job opportunity as a precious gift that is grated to candidates, and commit to restructuring the offer and give candidates “a good reason to hop on board and stay with the company”.
What are the conclusions?
Today HR faces new challenges and a new mission which is different from the past.
We, as HR professionals, must fine-tune our analytical and HR profiling skills, because we are in charge of bringing in “special” people with technical and intangible skills that match the Company’s requirements.
We need to make sure that the Company provides a workplace capable of delivering “People Experience”: a strong emotional reaction towards the Company itself and the offer it represents for whoever comes into contact with it (everyone from the employee, to the candidate, the provider, the
client or the stakeholder). Specifically, we should support the people that are part of the Company and those who are about to become part of it, and allow them to have an experience which is up to their expectations, in line with their personal goals, their dreams and values.
We are talking about the evolution of HR, which goes beyond Talent Acquisition and Talent Management, and creates a new paradigm: Human Resources become like “Environmental Engineers” actively restructuring the workplace.
We are expected to develop and refine abilities and skills that are linked to our personal background, history, emotional intelligence, empathy, sensitivity, communication, assessment, assertiveness, methodical approach and the ability to think “out of the box”.
These are amazing human abilities that no Artificial Intelligence will ever have.