For years talent management in organizations has been locked within the same mental model:
- An energy-consuming quarrel about what “talent” actually means.
- The selection of talented individuals based on a mix of rational and political criteria.
- The roll-out of talent programmes designed to stretch and move these individuals into managerial roles early on.
This framework still holds true for many organizations, and it needs to change fast, particularly when dealing with junior/early career talent. Here is why:
Many executives agree on the fact that talent programmes have a limited effect on the retention of young professionals. As a matter of fact, considering the volatility of generations Y and Z, having been channeled through a talent program might incentivize them to advertise this when looking for a new job.
Many candidates believe that company values, the nature of the job, and competitive compensation are rather more effective retention levers. Which means that, at the least, talent program investment should be scrutinized for actual contribution to retention.
We notice that leading executives are desperate for hybrid profiles: they want young professionals with a wide array of business knowledge. Yet too often talent programmes are obsessed with developing so-called leadership skills -strategy, people management, etc… which often will not be put to use at an early career stage anyway.
As many young professionals have a larger appetite for cross-functional knowledge, we feel companies should build upon this appetite and offer far more open and diverse skill acquisition programs. Innovative companies will require neuro-diverse, polysyllabic talents, rather than mono-syllabic hyper-specialists. And tomorrow’s talents want a strong leg in their core specialty, as well as skills in many other, diverse fields. Good talent programs will capitalize on this appetite for learning diverse disciplines, and continuously nurture curiosity and skill diversity.
One of the recurring expectations of younger professionals is about their employer’s social responsibility. This includes true everyday commitment to sustainability, to the environment, to diversity, to social inclusion, to ethics, to societal change.
Regretfully, many talent programs limit their scope to enhancing their talents’ business performance. Younger professionals. are less driven by their employer’s business performance, but by their values and legacy. This is why we believe today’s talent programmes should include social responsibility initiatives or projects as equal partners of business performance goals.
There’s no doubt that young professionals can deploy their talent to handle business and societal goals in parallel. Now companies need to provide them with the resources to succeed at both.