Democratisation of talent development process is the need of the hour
Talent development initiatives of HR function are by and large implemented with the focus on specific teams that are identified functionally or category-wise. Even the development centres that are put in place are aimed at only a select group of critical resources or senior leaders with the view to motivating them and for development of future leaders in the organisation.
The vast majority of employees who are in the lower rung of the organisation bring with them unique skills and these are often not tapped and go unnoticed. Born in the digital era, this is the segment of employees who are capable of contributing the most and bring in the distinctive capabilities that the older generation and senior employees of the organisation may not possess and thus give the organisation a lead in the marketplace. Therefore, organisations are beginning to recognise that there is a need to rethink critical talent as well as create the right environment for retention of such talent which may be found in the rank and file of the organisation.
Finding such talent among the rank and file of the organisation has been made easy thanks to the availability of smart digital tools. HR departments can do a very detailed profiling of employees and capture valuable data at the time of joining and thereafter at frequent intervals; it is possible to identify the new skills employees have acquired on the job. Some organisations have been carrying out such exercises even without the digital tools in the past, but what is now feasible is to be able to gather this data on a real time basis using specific tests or supervisor’s ratings and more importantly also use this data in creative ways to help the business as well as employees.
Skills Alpha is an example of digital platform which lets the employees know in a transparent manner the gaps that exist between the current levels of competencies and the required levels of proficiencies for the current role as well as potential pathways for future roles. It is possible for employees to pick specific aspirational career pathways in consultation with their managers within their own function or in other functions of their interest. Employees can also be provided with learning content suiting their learning style and could be suggested the timeframe to complete the programs. L&D managers could blend their own content along with external content such as those available from MOOCs and other sources to curate the right content for each employee.
Often L&D managers face the challenges of low attendance or non-completion of programmes for which employees are signed up for. This challenge can be addressed as the employees are provided with the opportunity to assume ownership for their careers with the help of such digital tools. Further, AI tools are able to constantly monitor their progress and serve up customided content as well as give pointers to coaches available within or outside the organisation who could help them to perfect specific skills.
AI tools can also enable L&D managers to modify the content based on the analytics and insights gathered from the feedbacks of learners/coaches as well as the conversations that take place in the collaborative learning environment. The democratisation of the learning environment facilitated by digital tools with each employee being able to have his/her say on the talent development process can pave the way for the organisation to enable all employees to be aligned with the mission of the organisation and thus the return on investment on L&D efforts can be maximised.
The writer is chairperson, Global Talent Track, a corporate training solutions company