Just as new world organisations are rethinking their structures and the very nature of leadership, so too are they dismantling the age-old approach to talent development and retention. Out go formal appraisal processes, structured career ladders and formal training programmes. Instead, they are applying the principles of agility, collaboration and fluidity to the very heart of their talent programmes.
So, what should those seeking to develop and retain much-valued talent in the ‘new world’ focus on?
Here are three lessons from the new world approach.
Replace the annual appraisal with continuous feedback.
We live in a world where elections are fought, and lost, online. Where presidents seek to influence public opinion through 140 characters on Twitter. And where feedback is available 24/7 through Facebook, Instagram, or text message.
It’s a world in which the concept of waiting 12 months for a formal appraisal is an anathema. Instead, organisations are increasingly focusing on continuous feedback. The move is driven in part by the very different expectations of the younger generations of workers. But, equally, it is in response to the very nature of an agile environment where “fail fast, learn fast” is the mantra.
Crucially, employees expect the feedback process to be two-way: they expect to both give and receive feedback. Now.
Dismantle career ladders in favour of a sequence of experiences.
Baby Boomers and Gen X grew up in an organisation where success was often measured and rewarded by linear progression up a career ladder. Aspirations were founded on particular jobs and titles: “I want this job and title, and then that job and title”.
In a workplace increasingly packed with emerging generations, the expectation is that growth and recognition comes through a sequence of experiences to broaden knowledge and stretch the individual: “I want this experience and then I want that one”.
Equally, the expectation is that those experiences will not be confined by functional siloes. Nor will they be restrained by perceived inexperience.
What is emerging is a career structure tailored to individuals, often in fluid team structures or in projects that have a clear goal and finite lifespan. And with regular 360 feedback, of course.
Embrace the Googlisation of learning and development.
Got a question? Google it. You’ll find a wealth of information to digest. This ‘always on” and ‘right here, right now’ approach is beginning to revolutionise the way in which organisations approach learning and development.
Increasingly L&D is being seen not as a means to ‘fix’ people’s weaknesses but as an integral part of their ongoing growth and contribution. Taking a lead from Google and sites like Wikipedia, L&D teams are building programmes that allow individuals to build knowledge remotely at any time through questioning. Equally, they are learning from the sharing economy that knowledge is not the preserve of the trainer or the manager: it often sits with others who are willing to collaborate and share in a way that ‘train the trainer’ never really succeeded in doing.
There is one principle that runs through these three lessons: a focus on the individual and not rigid corporate principles or hierarchies. They are designed to meet individual needs and drive agile working by learning fast from mistakes, providing a breadth of experiences and supporting inquisitive minds. How great does that sound?