I spoke with a client this morning and I don’t know about you all, but there is already a noticeable shift in the tone of conversation in the market place compared to as recently as just two months ago. It’s the first week in May and it seemed like just yesterday when all of us, yes you too, thought it would be somewhere in 2010 (optimistically) we would see us pulling out of this disastrous and demoralizing recession. There were certainly enough data points to suggest that it would take that long. The top economists literally threw up their arms and said “Heck if we know!” and the extent of the carnage across all industries and geographies seemed quite gruesome. Yet, there now is word that we would be out of this by Q3 this year. Clearly some industries and companies will be leading the charge while others will lag behind into 2010…but you have to admit, this is great news.
So this client tells me something I have not heard in quite some time and I quote, “Because of the layoffs we had and the stress we put our organization through the past year, and now that things are actually getting better faster than we thought, how do we retain our top talent?” With an employer’s market combined with an already significantly trimmed workforce, the fear is that if existing talent with local knowledge left, the void and damage to internal processes could be severely crippling to the business – no matter the quality of talent outside. Further contributing to the situation, those who survived layoffs are all of a sudden a target by recruiters and companies since they were clearly identified as top talent when they were retained.
So there are two lessons here – one is in the blog I ironically wrote two months ago about taking great care of the “survivors.” The other is that talent management will continue to be a major Human Capital issue for the next decade as baby boomers begin their anticipated exit (in part or in whole) and the knowledge economy (as opposed to industrial) takes over the western world in the globalization trends of outsourcing and exporting blue collar needs continues. Core to the knowledge economy will be three critical competencies of adaptability, collaboration, and ideation (process of being innovative)….competencies that the younger generations score higher on than their predecessors. These competencies are deeply rooted in … you guessed it … EQ! What we know (IQ) will not be nearly as relevant as how we put to use what we know with others to create new ways of performing in the workplace. I predict a significant shift in how talent management will be orchestrated. We will soon see a transition from the traditional retention and training/development model to an EPowerment Model. Achieving empowerment through higher EQ and leveraging our digital accessibility to new people, communities, and sources of knowledge from wherever they exist to wherever they are needed in a real-time point-of-need model… the future just became the present. How exciting! The war for talent will be won by organizations who break their traditional paradigms the fastest and convert their companies into living, breathing interconnected organizations that are adaptable, collaborative, and highly innovative. Game on. It’s how we the successful will roll!