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According to Dr. John Sullivan, a noted author, speaker, and internationally recognized visionary, there are many changes occurring in the business environment and subsequently talent management that cannot be ignored by HR managers. According to Sullivan, If you want to plan ahead, you must consider these important changes in talent management.

(We will cover 7 of Sullivan’s original list of 18, which can be retrieved here: http://www.drjohnsullivan.com/newsletter-archives/198-understanding-the-changing-economics-of-the-talent-marketplace )

#1. Innovators are mandatory

Because first entry provides high margins, Talent Management systems must shift dramatically, so that they target the hiring of innovators that are required to get there “first”. Because innovators are often “different,” the processes used to manage them must also become more “tolerant” of how they work. Reward systems must measure and reward successful innovation and retention processes must focus on retaining them.

#2. Team work replaces individual contributors

Even though great ideas can come from individuals, the chance that these ideas will be successfully implemented quickly is small without the support of cross-functional teams. Teams are also more effective at identifying and solving complex problems. As a result, it becomes essential to focus on hiring, retaining and developing individuals (including innovators) with strong team skills.

#3. Managers must become “influencers”

In the past managers “ordered” those under their control “what to do” and “how to act”. As the power shits and knowledge and technology workers have more opportunities to leave, managers must learn to treat these critical workers more like volunteers.

Influencing replaces “ordering” in many cases. The increased use of cross function teams also means that managers must influence and manage many people that do not even report to them. This shift in skill requirements makes fewer want to accept the role, thus increasing the demand for these “influencing” managers (Google and WL Gore are leaders in this area).

#4. Employee loyalty is disappearing

As the global competition for talent increases, “in demand” employees and applicants are learning that they can now change jobs rather easily, with few negative repercussions. This, coupled with different attitudes toward work among different generations can mean that firm’s will face a continuous churn or turnover among workers. This means that turnover rates will soar, even with an increased emphasis on retention. As a result, hiring systems must be scalable to handle the increased hiring load.

#5. Continuous learning is the key competency

The faster speed of business requires firms to learn faster than ever before. Knowledge, answers and even skills become obsolete so fast that training, experience and formal education will lose their value quickly.

This means a new focus on hiring and retaining those that are self-motivated “continuous fast learners”. Internally, this also means firms must develop processes to rapidly and effectively share best practices and common problems (Whole Foods is the benchmark firm) and to update employee skill sets rapidly.

#6 Labor alternatives increase

In the past, hiring additional employees at your facility was often the only labor option. However, talent managers now must sort through a long list of labor options. Firms must now choose between low cost labor in low labor cost countries and higher cost but better performing and more adaptable labor.

Other choices might include substituting technology for labor, outsourcing work, offshoring work, remote work or using contingency workers. Advanced firms must also expand their thinking toward getting ideas not just for employees, but also from customers, vendors and from contests (IBM and P&G are the benchmark firms).

#7. Forward looking replaces a reactive approach

Because of the rapid speed of change, there will not always (as there is today) be sufficient time to merely react to a change and still effectively handle it. Instead, the new Talent Management model requires firms that are forward looking.

They must develop systems that can anticipate and then alert management when a talent management problem or opportunity is on the horizon. By preparing in advance with if-then scenarios, the TM function will be prepared in advance for most of these events.

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