Contributed by ManpowerGroup, CU Quarterly, June 2012
ManpowerGroup identified a series of macroeconomic forces that are converging and strengthening to accelerate the rapid changes of a new era called the Human Age. One of the most apparent Human Age trends is that the number of workers with adequate skills has decreased while the number of individuals with limited or irrelevant skills has increased. According to ManpowerGroup’s Talent Shortage Survey, more than half of U.S. employers said they are having trouble finding the talent they need despite unemployment hovering around 8 percent. This mismatch between available candidates and the increasingly specific skills required by organizations is perhaps the greatest challenge employers must overcome to achieve business growth.
This new era requires a different style of leadership. Human Age leaders must shift their attitude from command and control to coach, from a push management approach to pull, to unleash the potential of the workforce they have, navigate complexity and help alleviate the impact of talent scarcity. This means engaging with people on a human level, coaching and nurturing their potential, asking them for ideas and suggestions rather than ruling by decree.
“Manufacturing” the Workforce of the Future
Training and development are crucially important in the Human Age to unleash human potential in overlooked and underused talent pools, particularly young people, but also older workers who require ongoing development. In the long-term, organizations should collaborate with educators to identify skills gaps and ensure the workforce of the future is equipped with the skills needed to fill them. In the shortterm, employers may need to adjust their expectations to hire what ManpowerGroup defines as the “teachable fit” by assessing whether an individual has the capability, motivation and potential to be taught additional skills through targeted training programs. The Human Age leader’s “pull” approach to talent management should help organizations identify and engage potential teachable fit talent in house, as well as how best to train, develop and motivate that talent to fill resource gaps.
Near, Far, Wherever You Are
In the Human Age, in-demand talent doesn’t always have to be geographically nearby. Virtual working models provide access to individuals working remotely and to those who prefer more flexibility. Additional innovative technologies, such as BigData can help organizations to gain greater insight into skills shortages and source candidates to fill those gaps, particularly when coupled with “game-like” processes and the reach of social media. For example, tapping into candidates’ activities, preferences, stated skills and networks on
Facebook or LinkedIn builds a clear, detailed picture of their skills and competencies. In the future, BigData has the potential to be a very powerful tool in talent sourcing, providing organizations with the ability to analyze vast quantities of relevant information, although it will require significant financial investment.