ManpowerGroup identified a series of macro-economic forces that are converging and strengthening to accelerate the rapid changes of a new era called the Human Age. In the Human Age, people are recognized as the key to companies’ success and economic prosperity more so than ever before. One of the most apparent Human Age trends is the number of workers with adequate skills has decreased while the number of individuals with limited or irrelevant skills has increased. According to ManpowerGroup’s Talent Shortage Survey, nearly half of U.S. employers said they are having trouble finding the talent they need despite unemployment hovering around 8 percent. This mismatch between available candidates and the increasingly specific skills required by organizations is perhaps the greatest challenge employers must overcome to achieve business growth.
This new era requires a new style of leadership. Human Age leaders must shift their attitude from command and control to coach, from a push management approach to pull, to unleash the potential of the workforce they have, navigate complexity, and help alleviate the impact of talent scarcity. This means engaging with people on a human level, coaching and nurturing their potential, asking them for ideas and suggestions rather than ruling by decree.
“Manufacturing” the Workforce of the Future
Training and development are crucially important in the Human Age to unleash human potential in overlooked and underused talent pools, particularly young people, but also older workers who require ongoing development. In the long-term, organizations should collaborate with educators to identify skills gaps and ensure the workforce of the future is equipped with the skills needed to fill them. In the short-term, employers may need to adjust their expectations to hire what ManpowerGroup defines as the “Teachable Fit” by assessing whether an individual has the capability, motivation and potential to be taught additional skills through targeted training programs. The Human Age leader’s “pull” approach to talent management should help organizations identify and engage potential Teachable Fit talent in house, as well as how best to train, develop and motivate that talent to fill resource gaps.
Near, Far, Wherever You Are
In the Human Age, in-demand talent doesn’t always have to be geographically nearby. Virtual working models provide access to individuals working remotely, and to those who prefer more flexibility. Additional innovative technologies, such as BigData can help organizations to gain greater insight into skills shortages and source candidates to fill those gaps, particularly when coupled with “game-like” processes and the reach of social media. For example, tapping into candidates’ activities, preferences, stated skills and networks on Facebook or LinkedIn builds a clear, detailed picture of their skills and competencies. In the future, BigData has the potential to be a very powerful tool in talent sourcing, providing organizations with the ability to analyze vast quantities of relevant information, although it will require significant financial investment.
Doing more with less is the norm in the Human Age, and organizations are increasingly careful about how and where they invest within their workforce. Every hire matters. Companies need to recognize the reality of scarce talent, and understand how they can start to build a talent pipeline, using both existing and new sources of talent, as part of a workforce strategy that will align with their business strategy and empower them to succeed.