“They couldn’t lead their way out of a wet paperbag!” How often have you heard that phase uttered around the coffee machine? It would appear you are not alone. In the September 2013 Real-life Leaders report, the CIPD highlighted that 72% of organisations reported a deficit in management and leadership skills.
And this is not just a UK phenomenon. Globally, respondents to the recent Deloitte 2014 HC Trends report indicated that over 80% of organisations saw Leadership as an “urgent” priority. This survey of over 2,500 business and HR leaders was consistent in ranking Leadership Improvement as the number one trend across industries.
We can all understand the causes of this trend: recession, increased disillusionment with Leaders, high profile media cases of mismanagement, the laser focus of regulatory bodies, and recognition that culture change and the speed of recovery can only be sustained if driven by leadership from the top.
So what to do about it? The simple sticky plaster response is to focus on Leaders, their selection and their development. However it doesn’t just stop there. There is clear evidence that organisations and their HR departments are recognising the need to take hold of this challenge proactively looking at a multi-faceted approach, starting with using analytics to intimately understand Talent and its impact on business.
Talent Analytics is set to become the buzz word of the next couple of years. Requiring a forensic approach seldom applied to HR information, its goal is to find that Holy Grail, the link between your people and the performance of your organisation. In the process this aims to throw light on the attributes of Talent that are most successful in the different parts of your organisation whether this is tenure, education, mentor history, past-performance, diversity, engagement scores, or football teams (not really).
The other pleasing trend to emerge is the recognition that Employers must go “beyond retention” with the staff they have already, creating Talent from within. It is no-longer enough to focus on measuring engagement scores and taking retrospective action. A recent article in Forbes highlighted the attributes of the Top 5 Companies to work for in the US. These attributes unsurprisingly had little to do with financial reward, and far more to do with making work a comfortable and engaging place. For some that is about the comfort elements of Maslow’s triangle (space, flexibility, aligning work and life), for others it is about providing the opportunity to better themselves in and out of work (through charity work or rotation work programmes).
Unsurprisingly the other big trend highlighted in the recent Deloitte report is the need to reskill HR - and given the list of focus areas above, who can argue with that? To deliver these trends most HR functions will need a significant overhaul of both frameworks and capability. Internal training can only form part of the answer. The rest will come from pulling in skills from outside HR and from the market.
In summary, as Josh Bersin said “The war for Talent is over and Talent won”. The battle is no-longer just to attract in Talent but to recognise, develop and retain the Talent you already have.
Aaron is the Partner responsible for the Deloitte UK FSI HR practice and previously was the Partner leading Accenture’s HR Transformation practice in the UK. He has over 20 years of practical, hands on, experience in HR transformation, service delivery, people transition, organisational design, process transformation, service management, HR M&As and technology implementations