How ready is your organisation for emerging talent?

Nicky Garcea, Chief Customer Officer
This was the unexpected topic of a panel I chaired at this year’s ISE Global Conference. Supported by panel members - Bob Athwal (Senior Consultant for Early Years and Student Experience), Jessica Grundy (Head of Early Talent Recruitment Strategy – EMEA at Johnson & Johnson) and Joe Voelcker (Global Head of Early Talent Recruitment at GSK) – we talked about global recruiting and future graduates.

I say the unexpected topic because our programmed title was How ready are graduates to join global organisations. However, by the third day of the ISE event, my three panel members felt the focus needed to be reversed. We needed to examine how ready we are as global organisations for emerging talent.

It was a popular topic with involvement and much discussion from the audience which included recruiters, talent development leads and suppliers as well as the panel members themselves.

Key points are summarised here:

1.      Is your global competency framework out of touch with the emerging talent that you are recruiting for?
Many global frameworks are built on what the organisation needs or what the current high performers demonstrate. Increasingly, this leads to criteria such as ‘Technology / Digital Mindset’ being included in a framework because it is based on what is lacking within the organisation today. However, as Joe from GSK highlighted, criteria focused on technology is less relevant for a digital native workforce. So should emerging talent be examined on the basis of an organisation’s future talent needs rather than those generated from incumbent performers?

2.      Is your approach sufficiently agile to meet the development needs of the workforce?
Jessica from Johnson & Johnson highlighted how at her time at Accenture, she witnessed the benefits of an organisation building an agile approach to learning and development. This meant that training has a ‘just in time’ feel and could be better aligned to the needs of individuals and trends across a cohort once they are in the business. This approach requires a level of fluidity and time to understand the needs of new recruits rather than trying to pre-empt this before they join.

3.      Are managers ready to harness the talent of the graduates, apprentices and interns joining their teams?
Each member of the panel reported on the success that reverse mentoring can have in helping managers truly understand the needs and desires of emerging talent. It also helps to dispel some of the stereotypes that can build when emerging talent is only thought of as homogenous group.

4.      Are managers clear in communicating a realistic description of what a role involves?
The panel talked about the risk of ‘overselling’ a job when talking about what’s needed from a global role. There is a risk that we go out and recruit people who will challenge the status quo and who have a diversity of perspectives and styles but then we bring them into roles where the organisational culture crushes all that creativity out of them.

5.      Are all aspects of diversity being attended to by educational institutions and organisations globally?
Bob Athwal has found that Careers Services are having great success in helping diverse talent understand their strengths and build confidence in applying to global organisations, although Joe highlighted the need to understand across country nuances in diversity.

The overall feeling of the panel and audience was that universities and organisations are making good strides with diversity but a greater focus on all aspects of disability and mental health will be imperative in the coming years.

6.      Are we future proofing emerging talent needs along-side organisational transformation needs?
With many jobs disappearing and components of existing jobs being taken on by technology, the talent requirements of an organisation are sometimes hard to predict. The panel and audience discussed the need for greater dialogue with educational institutions so candidates are made aware of these changing and ambiguous times. Organisations will also need to examine whether the programmes they are offering emerging talent today, will still be relevant over the next two or three years.

Throughout the lively session it became clear that there is some really great practice being deployed within education and in organisations. Those that are truly succeeding in preparing for emerging talent are agile, listening and future proofing their approaches.