4 mindset shifts organisations need to drive talent mobility

With talent mobility more important than ever in this new era of work, what are the four mindset shifts organisations need to adopt?
By: | September 25, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the changes in the way work is done and by whom it is done. And talent mobility and agility have never been more important as organisations look to recover with greater resilience to disruptions.

As the workforce is being thrust into a new era of work, the talent needs of businesses have been transformed overnight through accelerated digitalisation during the pandemic. And with restructuring and cost-cutting the top priority for many organisations during this crisis, talent acquisition by its traditional definition has inevitably taken a backseat.

Therefore, many organisations now find themselves having to rapidly shift employees from one role to another to meet the evolving needs of the business and its customers. The need for companies to rethink and overhaul their people and internal mobility strategy has never been more pronounced.

Michelle Hancic, Global Head of Consulting Psychology, pymetrics, shares four mindset shifts that organisations need to adopt to meet their talent needs in this new world of work – fast.

1) Being comfortable with data

Embracing and integrating technology in talent mobility processes is no longer a nice-to-do, but a must-do. But first, organisations and leaders need to shift their mindsets around data and technology such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), which will help them better understand the skills and capabilities of their people.

“Mindset is still the biggest challenge. We have many organisations and employees who are really fearful of AI because they feel that machines are going to make the decisions,” Hancic explained.

“But what people don’t realize is that human decision making without data is really limited. We can only as humans ingest so much data and so much information. So it’s about getting comfortable with data and AI-enabled decision making. It’s not about AI making the decisions, it’s about enabling decision making with that data.

“For us to be able to move forward with mobility at scale, we need to shake up the commonly held beliefs about technology,” she added.

2) Over reliance on hard skills

According to Mercer’s 2020 Global Talent Trends report, two in five HR leaders said that they do not know what skills they have in their workforce today. And even if they do, they are limited to the hard skills which are mostly self-reported.

That is a worrying statistic because talent mobility is not just about matching roles with hard skills, but also the soft skills and behavioural fit that employees possess that enable them to move to other roles within and outside their organisations. And one way to have a better and more holistic understanding of the workforce is through the use of technology.

“What the pandemic highlighted is really the need for organisations to be able to better understand the skills and capabilities of their people through the use of technology. Hard skills from an internal mobility perspective seems to be a key focus, but hard skills have a very limited shelf life,” she said.

“So I think an over reliance on that will be at the detriment of talent mobility when you’re not thinking about soft skills and the behaviours that underpin their performance. There is a lot of talk around understanding skills and capabilities. But what is equally important is understanding the soft skills or the behavioral fit that people bring, particularly when you have to move people into jobs where they don’t necessarily have the full skill set required.

“Perhaps they have the soft skills and behaviours needed, which means you will be able to train them and they will be able to operate in the role once they have those technical skills. That is why at pymetrics we have built a seamless way to achieve that through our internal mobility platform and taking into account the learning pathway as well,” Hancic added.

3) Letting talent go

Nobody likes to lose talent, especially when he or she has been trained and adapted to a specific role in the organisation over the years.

But as traditional roles transform and new ones are created to cater to the evolving business and consumer needs, leaders must learn how to accept and encourage their people to fill in other roles within and even outside the organisation.

“I think one of the mindsets that is really hard to shift is talent belongs to you. For example, if you have a team of great performers, you do not want to lose any of them. And you do not encourage them to move to other roles in the organisation because they’re doing a great job with you. However, internal mobility will never work while that mindset prevails,” Hancic said.

“Leaders need to get more comfortable in supporting people to move not only within the organisation, but also to move outside and then back in. That will create a much more fluid movement of people across organisations and industries as they progress and develop their careers,” she added.

4) Review of policies

While a mindset shift is needed, it is also time for organisations to review their policies to drive talent mobility. Many organisations’ existing policies remain catered and tailored to the pre-COVID-19 era, and they might not fully support the increasingly mobile, remote and digitalised workforce.

If employers truly want to drive talent mobility, they need to back that up by moving beyond policies that restrict movements in their organisations. And with employees working apart more than ever before, it is important for companies to rethink their communication and collaboration strategies.

“As we move to a new way of working, there is a need to actually review policies that do or do not support internal mobility in organisations,” Hancic advised.

“Some organisations have policies that require employees to be in a role for a minimum of 12 to 18 months before they are able to move internally. I think those policies are pretty antiquated now,” she concluded.

To learn how Talent Acquistion can be reimagined to enable greater talent agility and mobility, join Michelle Hancic at HR Tech Festival Asia Online 2020 on September 30, 10:30am (SGT)