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Future Talent – Career and Competency Management

According to most research studies today, one of the top 3 reasons that the best skills leave the organisation is because they don’t see career opportunities for themselves.  And this is particularly true in the new, flatter, Agile/Lean organisations.

Attracting and recruiting top talent has become one of the most challenging aspects of people management today.  Managers and HR Professionals spend an inordinate amount of time trying to find the best talent for organisations.  Yet, for some reason, the same rigour is not applied to retaining them.

Most organisations, especially those with strong digital links and operating in high growth markets, are feeling the brunt of high turnover, low commitment, and job-hopping.

How can your organisation channel top talent to want to hop around within your own organization? According to Forbes, to achieve this, there are 3 questions that must be answered in the affirmative:

  • Are there real career opportunities available?
  • Are they visible to your talent pool?
  • Are there support structures that facilitate internal career moves?

Agile does not mean no Career Management—but it does mean different Career Management.  And, if the organisation does not offer different alternatives, good, ambitious people are bound to leave.

What is Future Talent Career Management?

The problem in most organisations today is that we are still, from both an HR and a Leadership perspective, operating from a traditional mindset where careers are hierarchical and based on technical proficiency and past performance.

In a lean / agile organisation, careers are thought of more in terms of different roles you can choose across your professional lifespan rather than positions you are aiming for as a foundation for the next position.

To make this easier for actual development, these roles are defined in terms of competencies rather than tasks.  So, when planning a next step in a career, a person can assess their own competencies against those needed for the role.  Any “missing” competencies then become part of their “development.”

Modern Career Trajectories are also more random than traditional career paths.  People tend to move “sideways” more frequently than they move up.
This leads to a more fluid career that lets employees move across different “nodes” of a network rather than up or down a ladder.

Why Future Talent Career Management?

As organisations are changing and becoming more Agile, or Lean, so the shape and form of the organisation is changing.  Layers of management disappear, and management themselves become more cross-functional and less siloed.

This means that there are fewer and fewer opportunities “up” the organisation, but more opportunities across the organisation.

In the world of Agile/Lean, at any one point in time, any person can be performing one or more roles—as needed by the team at the time.  The more roles that an individual can play in this new, flexible, dynamic organisation, the more valuable they become to the organisation.

This fact challenges current remuneration strategies—but that is an issue for another time.

The Creation of V-Shaped People

There is much talk about T-Shaped people in the HR vernacular today.  It is our contention that, if Future Talent Career and Competency Management is effectively used in organisations, we will create V-Shaped people—who are ultimately of enormous value to the organisation.

The V-Shape starts with fairly limited skills in a fairly limited field—largely dictated by post-school college or university development.  However, once in the organisation, people can move up in their primary skill area, or across into different skills areas—or, generally, both!

As they grow in this “spiral” fashion, they develop both breadth and depth of skills and competencies—taking them to the top of the V-Shape.

Our process

Ideally Career “mosaics” are created at the same time that Role Expectation Sheets are produced. This ensures that roles are defined that enable growth and development within the organisation.

If not done simultaneously, the first step is to evaluate the role structure of the organisation.  Similarly, if roles are not defined in terms of competencies, these need to be identified and defined as competency development forms the basis of Future Career and Competency Management – see our article “Why Roles are More Important than Jobs in Agile/Lean Workplaces” in our Knowledge Base.

We then put a project in place, based on Agile  Scrum methods.  The Product Backlog is defined, agreed and prioritised.

Working in a team of subject-matter experts, using our analytical rigour and discipline, and working in two-week iteration cycles, we:

  • Evaluate the structure of roles and competencies in the organisation
  • Form an initial Career Mosaic from the existing roles and competencies
  • Identify where roles may be missing and where competencies are not properly articulated
  • Define missing roles and competencies
  • Produce an initial Agile Career Mosaic
  • Train managers, HR, and employees in the use of the new Career Mosaic and assist with the publication and implementation

Benefits to the Organisation

Organisations that have a well-articulated Career Mosaic:

  • Indicate to employees that they are serious about people development
  • Encourage people to “job hop” within the organisation rather than working for the competition
  • Empower managers to have more meaningful and constructive career conversations with employees
  • Are able to gear learning and development in line with defined competencies
  • Can better assess their competency “assets” and plan for development when necessary
  • Reduce their overall Total Cost of Workforce as it is more cost-effective to develop inhouse than to buy in skills
  • Save money by optimising skills and competency usage within the organisation.

If you want to keep critical skills in your organisation and save a lot of money from reduced staff turnover, we can certainly help you achieve that.  Click here to schedule an appointment to talk to us, or click here to contact us and we will get back to you directly.


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