Posted 16th July 2019

All organisations exist to deliver benefits to their end customers, regardless of sector or geography but they can only do this through the strength of the employees. Everyone knows that employee engagement, motivation and career aspiration are key criteria to organisations being successful.

CEOs and HR directors are continually bombarded with technology “solutions” for their talent management and workforce planning challenges with the appropriate amount of artificial intelligence thrown in for good measure., Josh Bersin sums this up well in his market report on tech in HR.  But in looking at what’s available today, including “disruptive” entrants into the market, do these platforms actually provide the answer? They give the organisation all the insight and power that it needs to meet its HR goals – scope of talent, job matching, resource planning…but with one fundamental flaw. These systems only serve the businesses and don’t provide a channel for employees to have a voice. Something akin to a dating tool that lets both sides enter information about themselves, but only one side has the access or power to explore, consider options, decide and plan. 

Only the individual can know if applying for their next role (or even re-applying for their current role as part of a restructure) is a match for their personal aspirations and planned career path., Pperhaps there’s a stretch goal that could be achieved with mentoring and training? But it’s almost impossible for them to make the organisation aware of this with the tools that are available today. The challenge is not just about having somewhere to register the information but actually having the courage to do it too. Especially as it’s no secret that for many very good reasons, some organisations only focus on the top 5-10% of their workforce and are missing out on every aspect of talent that they could access. 

So, whilst organisations know what their customers need and what kind of workforce can deliver it, they don’t really have the true insight of individual capability or potential, making sustainable workforce planning unachievable. 

Maintaining the balance 

This has made successful talent management a delicate balance between an organisation achieving goals and an individual feeling valued, empowered and in control of their career. Once this leans too far in either direction, the balance is lost and ultimately it is the end customer who is impacted. To avoid this happening, both parties have to be in direct, dynamic conversation with each other, but not just for current talent matching scenarios based on past history. The key here is what individuals want now and from the future, what will motivate them to grow and develop and in turn shape the workforce of tomorrow. That said, one thing it is extremely difficult to predict now, with so many variable factors, is what the workforce of the future will look like.  A “career ladder” is a thing of the past because today careers meander – they reflect personal changes, whether that’s new skills, aspirations or shifts in preferences or circumstances. With the increase in multi-generational workforces, millennials are working alongside older generations and they are not afraid to move on to the next challenge if they feel they’re not appreciated by an organisation, or not able to progress upwards at pace. In fact, millennials are a whole new breed of workforce and they are in the workplace right now. According to PWC, only 18% of millennials expect to stay in a role long term, and career progression is the main attraction in an employer over competitive salaries. The “Four Worlds of Work in 2030” makes for interesting reading. 

If you give control to individuals, with dynamic AI-driven algorithms that let the user tell the “machine” what is important to them as an individual, rather than the machine making assumptions, then you have something that results in a completely intelligent match. This is a ground-breaking approach to AI and Optunli is already recognised as a pioneer in this space. This new style of working bridges the gap that poses all the challenges in current talent management. With such rich insight and agility, there is an open dialogue between organisations and individuals so that the ultimate intelligent matching and planning can take place. 

Our ambition is to deliver both sides of the equation and restore equilibrium, purely by putting individuals in control of their careers and equipping organisations with sustainable workforce planning that lets them focus on their core business – ultimately their customers.

Teresa Fox
Post author:Teresa Fox

Teresa Fox is a Co-CEO and Founder of Optunli.

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