Inspiring Internal Talent Starts with Opportunity
By Diana Kearns-Manolatos, Senior Manager, Center for Integrated Research at Deloitte and Robin Jones, Principal, Human Capital, Deloitte Consulting
Dynamic business challenges, workforce skills shortages, and emerging digital technologies continue to push new workforce management practices that, if embraced, could serve as a major competitive differentiator for businesses. At the heart of that change is the relationship between the employer and the workforce, which needs to shift to enable mutually inspired opportunities. That shift has been underway with the evolution of the Social Enterprise.
The Social Enterprise initially emerged when organizations expanded their mission to extend beyond profitability to consider a broader view of stakeholder capitalism that included the workforce and society as a whole. The Social Enterprise has evolved, and the next phase is about finding new and inspiring ways to activate internal talent with a human-centered rewiring of the relationship between the employer and the worker.
If the enterprise becomes more open-minded about freeing talent from traditional roles to direct workers’ skills, passion, and purpose to where the organization needs them most—and more open to moving individuals from roles and teams toward project-based opportunities—they create a potential win-win scenario. Inspiring the workforce starts with providing workers access to opportunity and results in delivering the business greater productivity and business value.
Purpose, Potential, & Perspective
Deloitte’s Human Capital Trends 2020 research found that to unlock workforce potential organizations must focus on three key areas. First, organizations need to embrace new approaches that bring purpose or inherent meaning into work. This will help to inspire workers and allow them to understand how their work impacts the organization and society. Second, organizations can look to maximize human potential through engaging experiences that inspire the worker and build new skills and capabilities for the organization. A core shift in talent management that the research identified is a move from skills-focused hiring to building enduring human capability internally with 52% of organizations focused on capability. Finally, organizations can work to broaden their perspective on workforce value for tomorrow by investing in resilience and treating workforce development as a strategy with programs and tools to adapt to a range of uncertain futures.
Talent managers have started to embrace new approaches that tap into the workers’ “passion of the experience” to drive programs that inspire workers and create a sense of purpose. Learning & Development increasingly can look to embed learning into the flow of work and align performance incentives to reward based on capability development. Only 45% of respondents in Deloitte’s 2020 Human Capital Trends said their organization is rewarding them for skill and capability development which makes performance management an underutilized partner in the organization’s effort to maximize workforce potential. In a separate study with MIT Sloan Management Review, Deloitte found that fewer than half of global survey respondents (47%) think that their company is making a significant investment in their professional development, and only 34% are happy with their organization’s investment in improving their skills and performance. One potential solution emerged: Opportunity Marketplaces. These internal talent management platforms could be the key to inspiring talent and unlocking this latent workforce potential.
Unleashing an Opportunity Marketplace
Opportunity marketplaces allow workers to find projects, roles, stretch assignments, and volunteer or mentorship opportunities that they would find meaningful; managers to post project work and quickly find relevant talent within the organization; and organizations to maximize human productivity across the workforce by unlocking latent human value. This increased transparency into and access to opportunity can be an important tool for inspiring the workforce given Deloitte’s 2019 Human Capital Trends research found that 40% of the workforce agreed it is easier to find opportunity outside their organization. Some organizations even are recognizing the potential for opportunity marketplaces to support diversity, equity and inclusion and innovation initiatives by fostering a culture of curiosity, exploration, and diverse perspectives and identifying latent talent that might not otherwise have access to certain opportunities.
Marketplaces provide a unique mechanism for creating equal access and transparency into opportunity supply across the organization, while allowing individuals to self-select opportunities that provide them with the most meaning based on their interests and development goals. In this way, they empower the workforce with greater autonomy and agency over their own access to opportunity and allow the workforce to explore multi-dimensional careers and unconventional career pathways that align with their interests and values.
Organizations go through tremendous effort to court, interview, negotiate, and onboard talent but many don’t extend that same level of investment into talent management beyond annual promotion cycles. Dynamic workforce management can foster more opportunity by matching people with projects that inspire them, that meet their need and state of life cycle in a more personalized and impactful way, and that support the ability to grow an individual’s income based on new skills and experiences. What is more, opportunity marketplaces can do matching and support this talent investment at scale thanks to AI-enabled recommendations that create more customized and personalized career pathways.
The more organizations can continue to provide an ongoing stream of opportunities to their workforces, especially for high- and mid-level performers, the more they’ll want to stay and be inspired. Organizations that embrace this approach realize it is not inspiring for workers to grow, invest in, and remain loyal to a company if they are not getting back the same type of investment in opportunities that they are making into the organization. Deloitte and MIT’s research found that 88% of respondents are participating in activities to stretch their performance and 47% are participating in mentorship opportunities; however, only 34% said they are satisfied with the level of skills investment from their organization.
While breaking work into projects is not in every company’s DNA, a lack of career progression, employee growth, and even compensation challenges make investment in different types of opportunity as an organizational differentiator more important than ever.
If workers have to go outside the organization to get better opportunity and pay, that can be frustrating for the company. Everyone knows it’s exceptionally frustrating to lose good talent.
Inspiring Workforce Potential
Speaking to the power of opportunity, a survey from Blind, an anonymous community of 3.6 million working professionals, found that 32% of working professionals would consider relocating with a pay cut. In fact, Deloitte’s research into what makes an organization irresistible found that that meaningful work, supportive management, positive work environment, growth opportunity, and trust in leadership are the top factors that attract an employee to an organization. The outcome to focus on, therefore, is how can the organization create more optionality around the opportunities and jobs provided for people.
In addition to individual performance and compensation, the MIT SMR-Deloitte research found worker satisfaction with skills investment also is reflected in how they view the organization’s overall performance: 86% of those satisfied with investment levels say their organization is high performing and competitive, compared to just 53% of those who are not satisfied. A Net Promotor Score can be a helpful ongoing success measure.
As organizations look to inspire their workforce during uncertain times with uncertain futures, connecting opportunity to performance and compensation models in a way that advances performance beyond data and numbers to align with a set of human principles related to how the organization values individuals will be a key step forward from where most organizations are today—Deloitte’s Human Capital Trends 2020 found that 58% of respondents reported that the workforce has little to no input in the organization’s compensation strategy.
All About People
When asked why organizations need to care so much about the workforce when formulating business strategy, the CEO of one health care company noted to us, “How could they not care about their workforce when they are 70% of the cost and 100% of the innovation?” Organizations need to remember that at the end of the day it is human creativity that advances work outcomes. People are the innovation engine behind a company, and they can only bring their best selves to work if they are inspired and supported by an organization that provides an equally creative, innovative, and reciprocal amount of investment in them and their growth. Leaders can foster that belonging by embedding meaning into work to advance their workforce goals, and these investments in capability building and opportunity access will be essential for future of workforce strategies.
Diana is a strategic business leader with 13-plus years of experience developing and delivering differentiated insights and award-winning marketing communications programs. As Senior Manager of Integrated Research at Deloitte, she works to strategize, analyze, and create industry-leading research, insights and thought leadership focused on business and technology transformation with a focus on cloud and the future of work.
Robin is a Principal with 22 years of organization and workforce transformation consulting experience. With a focus on the Future of Work, Robin advises senior executives as they contemplate how data, technology and societal changes are impacting the work, workforce, and workplace. At Deloitte, Robin leads Workforce Transformation with end-to-end responsibility for the market, services, and talent, and serves on the CEO’s Marketplace Leadership Team in Deloitte Consulting.