Sukhpreet Swaran Sandhu Heads Global Talent Management – HRD at Denave and responsible for leading all HR strategic initiatives around learning & OD, compensation & benefits, performance management, cultural transformation, leadership development, career path, strategic HR business partnering, talent acquisition, and HR process enhancements for India, Europe, Malaysia, and Singapore regions.
Prior to this, he worked with Tolexo-An Indiamart Company, Moody’s Corporation, and Jabong wherein he had played a pivotal role in organisation building, effectiveness, strategic business partnering, and people development initiatives. Connect him on Linkedin here.
A few weeks ago, an ex-team member of mine reached out to me with some highly perplexed mind. She was concerned about business led (performance related) exits that were happening in her organization leading to high level of distress & surviving of the fittest environment in that organization. This is one such example of weak talent planning & strategy in VUCA world. As leaders, we often drive higher level of performance and equally higher level of happiness quotient. Business enhancement, meetings ROIs, customer deliverables, a lot of it make or break the organization’s effectiveness in business continuity. How about focusing on the people part of it? All this is driven by whom? Your people! Whether we accept or not, people play a pivotal role in an organization’s success.
Being a part of the HR function for more than a decade, I have often observed and experienced not so brighter side of business discontinuities, excellent business strategy with exceptionally poor people strategy and above all complacent way of working of managers; leading to contribute on the “talent” being ignored knowingly or unknowingly (that’s the hard truth). Yes, we do live in VUCA world… volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous! But how we ensure that it does not impact the talent is what the game-changer for us. Re-imagining the talent and its nuances is highly imperative as “talent is something worth investing as much as we invest for business growth & brand building.” The world of business is changing drastically and dramatically where technology is business and business is technology but let’s not forget who drives technology (business) i.e. people.
The question is what to do to ensure business uncertainties do not lead to shorter talent longevity in the system… Here are my views and thoughts that can help us make concrete plans around talent empowerment & success in a system (with or without uncertainties in the environment):
1) Right talent; may be in wrong hands
The weird it sounds, the true it is. Cognitively speaking, each employee has talent to excel in the fields & their jobs. But what could be possible hindrances other than getting performance from them to ensure their contribution in the business continuities? Well, getting that expected performance from each team member is an equal responsibility of the managers. Not always performance improvement plan work as a tool to throw everything back to those who may need extra coaching & mentoring- and the hands they would be getting may not be the right ones. We hire for technical skills and fire people for behavioural inconsistencies & disconnects.This certainly doesn’t work in any VUCA environment. Change the hands that mentor your “not so high performing” employees & see what it may really demand.
2) Lack of trust among managers and teams
Another big statement, is not it? Trust serves as the base to every successful association. Often, I have seen there is a lack of trust shown by managers on their people, hence the whole-hearted approach is shady. Fallacies keep the front-seat as managers sometimes have highly mechanical way of dealing with things- patterns, experiences, situations (which are not wrong), but not correct always. Growth mindset to see each situation differently is the key game-changer, keeping all egos aside.
3) Leverage strength of your teams
Human brain- always tries to find something which can be better overseeing what’s always there which can reap great results. Create a bucket-list of all your team members and their strengths (combination of competencies and attributes) and see a bouquet of KSAs that can help change the business outlook. Talent mobility and exposure are two big appetites to cater to.
4) Process Agility:
Cognitive flexibility has been described as one of the key skills for 2020. It means the ability to adjust the way of thinking to new situations, along with the ability to overcome our customary automatic responses or thoughts, and adapt them to the new reality. Too much of rigidity in processes do become a roadblock to this approach and nothing really becomes bigger with a knee-jerk reaction. In an agile organization environment, planning is not the traditional way- It does have some probability factors (not definite), with contingency plans handy. In an agile organization, the way people are managed must also necessarily be agile and the best way is to allow the directions also coming bottoms up and horizontally v/s the conventional way of top-down direction. An organization becomes fully agile when people willingly and responsibly meet their commitments and accepts consequences of their actions.
5) Datafication- the Dominating Driver:
Yes, you read it right- data is the dominating driver. Organizations do look at business data points and analytics from macro and micro level. What has been customer demands, what each data points say, how’s the P&L working, key trends and future action-items. It’s a lot, seriously. As I wrote before, it’s people who drive businesses; why not to equally ponder upon people analytics? How many times we look at the attrition data points & trends and tend to link them on the impact on business deliverables & outcomes? Look at a few parts here: average tenure of team members spent under a leader, quantitative and qualitative impact on the business due to the exits, the early warning & late warning signs given by them. This integration can really help change the landscape of the business and people, leading to strong organization effectiveness.
An effective organization has people at its core and agile processes covering them at the periphery with clearly articulated business vision linked to people practices. Since most of the employees (people) see their immediate leaders and managers as “the organization” they work for; it calls for a great action for each manager especially in the world where uncertainties are higher than the complexities.
We have already entered 2019 now, a new year with new hopes & new achievements for business success & people growth.
Source: Sukhpreet Linkedin Article