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Infographic: How to identify your organisation’s context

LBS infographic

According to Professor Lynda Gratton of London Business School, work is no longer being defined by HR, but rather by ‘context’, which is created by the emergence of megatrends and their impact on society: “Work is being shaped by technology, globalisation, democracy and the ageing workforce, and the opportunity you have to make work as you want it,” she tells Mary Appleton.

Our infographic takes you on the journey on how you can identify, create and build around your organisation’s context. Read the full interview with Lynda Gratton here >>

Future Talent 2016

We’re proud to be sponsored by London Business School at our next Future Talent Conference. For more information about the event, please click here.

LBS Future Talent 2016

How can analytics help you safeguard your future talent?







Unwanted attrition, especially of high performers and high potentials, is a big issue. When you’re planning three to five years ahead and contemplating ambitious or complex strategies, you need to feel confident that you can retain the right talent.

Attrition is of course also expensive, both in the time and cost associated with recruitment as well as more indirect costs – such as the loss of experience to a competitor, lower productivity while new employees get up to speed, and possibly the loss of customers.

Tackle attrition – get to know your data

Organisations are taking increasingly sophisticated approaches to tackle attrition. Data analytics are being put to work to help predict and model the causes of attrition – to help identify staff who may be falling out of love with their current role and trying to address the issues effectively – well before the exit interview.

Of course, there are privacy considerations when using data about employees to predict whether they are showing signs of wanting to leave – and you need to be comfortable with the data that’s being collected and analysed. But if you can develop an approach led by performance management, coaching and improved relationships with line managers rather than a formulaic response driven solely by an intrusive algorithm – this can help you make better predictions.

How can you tell if your employees want to leave?

Employees who are more likely to leave will display certain characteristics – there are the ever-present background signals that a line manager will likely be aware of, such as personal commitments, slow career progression or being a proven high performer likely to be targeted by a head hunter.

But advanced analytics can help you identify the active day-to-day signals – the changes in behaviour – that differentiate between employees who might think of leaving, and those actively disengaging. When done well, analytics can spot two-thirds of these employees, months before they hand in their notice.

There are best practice approaches to addressing the risk that someone may be about to leave, but they’re best managed by embedding the right ways of working. For example, giving the line manager the right information in real time, with a playbook of responses to given scenarios, and sufficiently empowering and training the manager so they tailor a response which meets the needs of the particular employee, based on the real reasons why they’re disengaging at that specific moment.

When these approaches are combined with an analytical understanding of the individuals likely to be the leaders of tomorrow – the future talent of your organisation – not only can the detrimental immediate impact of attrition be mitigated, but you can also gain the ability to retain and nurture that talent, and ultimately safeguard your organisation’s future.

Jonathan Green, director – workforce analytics, KPMG
Jonathan’s focus area is around workforce analytics, and he has developed a number of solutions to identify and predict how the workforce can drive improved business outcomes.

Future Talent 2016

We’re proud to be sponsored by KPMG at our next Future Talent Conference. For more information about the event, please click here.

KPMG headline sponsor

Why ‘future talent’ isn’t about age

Tom Crawford FT

“Write about future talent!” they said. Immediately my impostor syndrome kicked in: “But I am yesterday’s ‘possibly never even was’ talent. I am the Glenn Medeiros, the Anthea Turner of talent management. And I am old (ish)”. Then a good friend pointed out that being a corporate drop out, consulting pseudo French hillbilly is a talent category in its own right. This made me think.

So today I have decided that I am actually a forty three year old Gen Yer. Gen Y didn’t invent the behaviours they are famous for, they simply had the balls to unleash them in a way we Gen Xer’s were scared to. That is why they, Gen Y, are shaping the working environment for everyone. Didn’t we all inwardly rebel against hierarchy? Didn’t we all have a longing not to conform?

This means that any discussion around ‘future talent’ cannot be age limited. Most major organisations continue to work on their diversity/respect and inclusion agendas. Done well, this is really an adjunct to decent employee engagement – “how do we recognise the individual and engage them for whom they are?” That’s what future talent wants, to bring themselves to work and be treated as an individual.

Time and again I wonder if most people today (with exceptions) are at least moderately good connecting with and understanding people of different faiths, genders, sexual orientations etc, even if it’s at a superficial level. This doesn’t mean they know how to behave in a way future talent expects: “I won’t call you a derogatory name as that’s not allowed, hey I’ve been on the diversity awareness course! However I will still tell you you’re f@*%&*g useless whenever I want, will speak to you like a dictator and generally make you not want to come to work.”

A new style of leadership needed?

That’s why, for future talent, we need to focus on the respect agenda as much as the diversity and inclusion; otherwise we haven’t got a complete solution. In some ways Gen Y are invisible to D&I anyway, but super sensitive to issues of general respect.

In fact, what I see senior leaders and middle management struggling with is how to engage a generation of talent which doesn’t respond to their leadership style. This is often due to the fact that leaders at most levels don’t think about their own personal leadership brand and reputation in this field.

People remember leaders like they do teachers. There are those who inspired and grew us (Miss Rowe, Stanwix Primary, 1983) and those we wouldn’t throw a bucket of water over if they were on fire because they bullied us (Mr B, chemistry, Trinity, 1985). In order to understand how to manage, we need to look at the environment Gen Y grew up in and specifically how they were taught versus we aged 40+ were taught. The difference in relationship with their teachers versus our own defines their leadership expectations in the workplace. However it’s not just Gen Y who want to be managed like that.

A new offering for employees

Professional services firms will struggle with this more than others. Their whole business model is under threat from recruiting thousands of grads who are clinically focused on aligning themselves with the organisation for a fixed period of time in order to build their own personal brand equity. The whole “eventually become a partner” carrot which was enticing to my generation (until they found out what was involved) is not attractive to large swathes of Generation Y.

Where will the partners of tomorrow come from in the numbers the firms require? There is a double hit on this because at the same time more and more of the mid 30-40 population are leaving professional service firms as they pursue quality of life not remuneration. We will start to see more white labelling of talent in order for firms to get a critical mass of chargeable people.

Actually, it’s not just the professional service firms; in terms of future talent, there is a whole cadre of people who don’t want to be owned by a brand as an employee. They want to take their expertise and “lease their talent” to an organisation for a fixed period of time which is mutually beneficial, largely for lifestyle benefit. Don’t believe me? Read HBR, “Rise of the Supertemp”. Don’t believe me? Why is it that repeated stints of 18-24 months on a CV are no longer a black mark? Don’t believe me? How many people do you know operating as freelancers or interims versus ten years ago? The smart organisations use this to great effect. There aren’t many of them. We need to wake up to managing people not employees.

If you like this, you might also be interested in our…

Future Talent Conference: 1st March 2016, Sadler’s Wells, London

Fancy joining us for a day of debate and topical discussion around the future talent agenda? Then you should definitely join us at Future Talent 2016. Discover our agenda, speakers and how to get your ticket here.

Left behind: Core talent acquisition skills lost in pursuit of innovation

Winning talent acq

“Innovation” is a major drive for HR right now. And why wouldn’t it be? Publications are running cover stories calling for the disassembly of HR and the creation of something new. In the wake of this (seemingly) popular call for the department’s dismantling, many HR leaders have turned to new technologies in hopes of fending off the pitchforks. But this strategy has led to some unfortunate and unintended consequences, particularly for the talent acquisition function.

Getting ahead of ourselves = leaving ourselves behind

In the rush to achieve relevancy in the eyes of our peers, many HR leaders have purchased tools and technologies to improve efficiencies. There is nothing inherently wrong with this. Better technology is fantastic – but it is only as good as the person behind the keyboard. Somewhere along this drive toward innovation, we’ve stopped pushing for the basic recruitment skills necessary to discern, and win over, the right candidates.

Without these skills, talent acquisition becomes a mindless task of selecting from a list of the “best candidates” generated by a program that cannot effectively determine context, personality or culture fit. Whether or not your department is facing this exact scenario, the fact remains that our core recruitment skills have fallen behind as we strive to get ahead. No wonder business unit leaders are unhappy with the quality of their new hires.

This is not mere conjecture. Cielo recently conducted a survey of nearly 700 business unit leaders, HR/talent acquisition leaders and C-level executives from organisations around the globe, and the vast majority pointed to a major skills gap in core recruitment skills: “Quality of Hire” was seen as their top priority, which talent acquisition is failing to deliver on.

Technology dependence is not the path forward HR is looking for. It will not keep the naysayers at bay because it is not providing the value our businesses want.

So here’s how we fix our situation.

Returning to our roots in order to move forward

You may think next section does not apply to your group – many HR and talent acquisition leaders have this same perception.

They feel they have mastered these skills long ago and must reach beyond them. This is understandable, but ultimately untrue. I am certain you would already be working to address these issues if you were aware that core skills were your trouble areas. But because these are considered “the basics,” problems here tend to hide in our blind spots.

From Cielo’s years of helping clients achieve strategic talent advantages, and from our recent Talent Acquisition 360 research, we have learned that many key internal stakeholders are dissatisfied with talent acquisition’s ability to deliver on its core attributes. Our blind spots are impacting our ability to provide real business results.

We must return to our roots to build a foundation that does not sway when we move toward strategic innovation. The good news is, once you have identified your trouble areas, it is not too difficult to address them. Here are five core elements of talent acquisition that must be mastered before we get onboard the “innovation equals progress” train too soon and leave our roots behind.

5 core skills that talent acquisition has left behind

  1. Building relationships

Relationships are the foundation upon which organisations are built. So it should come as no surprise that developing strong relationships with candidates and hiring managers should be one of talent acquisition’s top priorities. These are your two primary customers, after all.

An important part of this relationship is ensuring that candidates are happy – whether they are offered the job or not. This protects and enhances your organisation’s image. You should also be delivering a seamless experience for hiring managers so they have peace of mind that their hiring needs will be taken care of. Build a thorough understanding of the roles they are hiring for, the skills they expect and their role in the process.

These may seem like intangibles, but they produce measurable results. Take stock of your hiring manager’s happiness with your talent function now, and then measure again once you have taken steps to improve your working relationship.

  1. Discerning character and integrity

Recruiting acumen, or the ability of your people to determine the quality of a candidate, is another key trait that cannot be reduced to checkboxes in a software program. A candidate’s school, GPA and job history provide important data points, but reveal nothing about their personality or integrity. This is where human judgement plays a key role.

  1. Perceiving cultural fit

Like discerning character, the ability to perceive whether or not a candidate will mesh with the company’s culture is another aspect of talent acquisition that demands a human touch. Familiarity with the hiring organisation, its industry and its unique personality are key to finding the right people to fill roles. The benefits to the organisation are employees who are more engaged and inclined to stay with the company longer.

  1. Communicating your employee value proposition

You can have websites and brochures dedicated to promoting your EVP (and you should!), but talent acquisition is in a key position to really hit that message home. After all, your recruiters are the voice of the company at this stage in the hiring process. Their ability to effectively communicate the deal between employee and employer is invaluable, as it often influences the candidate’s decision.

  1. Engaging candidates

Benefits, wages and healthcare plans are all key elements of recruitment. But you can have competitive offerings for each of these and still fail to convince top talent to join your company. In a world filled with noise, it takes honest, credible voices to convince people of the truth in your offerings. Do not underestimate the importance of your recruiters’ relationship with candidates.

Evaluate your group’s skills in these areas, and make sure to get outside of the HR bubble for feedback. Check in with your business unit leaders and get their honest opinions of what you are doing well, and what you could do better. Simply building your relationship with them can go a long way toward delivering better results.

Written by Seb O’Connell, managing director, Europe & APAC, Cieo Talent

Future Talent 2016

We’re proud to be sponsored by Cielo Talent at our next Future Talent Conference. For more information about the event, please click here.

Cielo logo FT

12 days of Christmas: Future Talent 2016 special

12 days Christmas FT

It is the season of giving, and wow, have we got a Christmas treat for you (we think even Santa would be impressed). To mark the 12 days of Christmas, we’re running a special festive offer; everyday from Saturday 12th December right up until Christmas Day, we’ll be sharing a unique promotion code with an exclusive discount on the ticket price to our third Future Talent Conference at Sadler’s Wells on 1st March 2016, in London.

A new code, everyday

A new code will be released daily at 12pm (follow Changeboard on Twitter and Facebook to keep in the loop) and each code will offer a different discount – you better be quick, as the code will only last 24hrs before the next one is released.

What is the discount each day? Well, that’s for the elves to decide… good luck!

Why should you attend Future Talent 2016?

Fancy a day of inspiration, collaboration, topical debates and the time to consider the rapidly changing world of work?

Discover our incredible line up of speakers, our agenda, our inspiring venue and grab the opportunity to network with 750 business leaders (and find out what your peers had to say about our conference last year)  – please click here for all the info and how to get your ticket.

Speakers (to name a few) include:

Download your free Future Talent 2016 digital brochure here.

Five steps to take control of your emotions

To do list

Do you ever feel as if you’re drowning in your to-do list? Being pulled this way and that in the ever-changing tides at work? Future Talent speaker Dr Alan Watkins shares five steps to help you take control…

 1. Start to think differently.

Stop looking at others as the cause of your problems; be that your colleagues, boss, customers, the market, or macroeconomic conditions. The one thing you can control is yourself. You can move to a place that doesn’t feel overwhelming, exhausting, or constantly on the edge, regardless of what is going on around you.

2. Get a grip on how you feel.

When you’re faced with huge workloads, are you panicky and do you feel out of your depth? You may be justified in feeling that way, but it doesn’t help. You have to choose to get on board, attack, and enjoy the thrill of the ride. In addition, you must change how you feel about things. You cannot do any of that if you do not first accept that it is indeed possible to consciously control how you feel – in fact you are the only one who can.

3. Pay attention to your feelings.

This is essential if we’re going to choose how we feel. How are you right now – reading this blog? Ask most people and they’ll just guess. It’s not something you’ve probably ever really paid much attention to. Why would you? You’re way too busy trying to get ahead of your to-do list to stop and think about how you actually feel. When you do pay attention to your feelings, you may find it difficult to distinguish between different emotions. It’s not unlike tasting wine. Initially you can’t tell the difference between one bottle and another. Over time, your palate becomes better educated and your emotional palate can be similarly developed.

4. Pinpoint your emotions. 

When we ask a room full of people how many emotions they can identify and remember feeling over the previous week, they usually manage around a dozen. There are actually 34,000 different emotions. We’ve identified more than 2,000 emotions in the universe. Are you on the planet of frustrated? Overwhelmed? Annoyed? Irritated? Or are you excited, exuberant, content or delighted? Ultimately, if you don’t know which planet you are on, you’re lost.

You need to know where you are, emotionally speaking, to be able to deal with the waves of pressure at work. By identifying your emotions every day, you’d notice a much greater level of emotional awareness, or self-awareness, within two or three weeks. You would also have significantly enhanced your emotional literacy… way beyond the 12 emotions most people can name. This can give you a significant competitive advantage, particularly since so few people have any degree of awareness, or control, of this dimension of who they are.

The reason that emotional awareness, literacy and control are so important in business is that emotions determine our behaviour. If your workforce is mostly on the planet of ‘disengaged’, they’re not going to do what you want them to do. They won’t deliver the results you want. If, on the other hand, they’re on the planet of ‘determined’, ‘relentless’ or ‘fully engaged’, you’ll see a whole different set of behaviours.

5. Encourage an environment of self-motivation.

One of the challenges of leadership is motivating the workforce. Imagine a universe where people are self-motivated, where you don’t have to exhort them to a better state – they turn up to work already fired up and ready to go, every morning. Imagine the results you could generate if everyone in your workforce was optimally motivated every day. That is exactly what can happen when people take ownership of their own emotional state. Leaders no longer need to drag, pull, push or cajole people as they are already operating from a motivated and energetic place.

Hear Dr Alan Watkins talk about the four dimensions to creating competitive advantage at Future Talent 2016. Find out more here.

Future Talent 2016 is proud to be sponsored by:

Future Talent 2016 sponsors

We are world class floor cleaners

Martine Wright

Any team environment relies on a real togetherness and a sense of purpose and unity. Team dynamics are a challenge in any setting, but in the cauldron of elite sport and under the lights with the world watching, this is needed more than ever.

Our quest to achieve recognition and acceptance as the first female sitting volleyball team to ever compete for GB in the Paralympic Games needed that sense of unity and a clear idea of what our journey looked like from the outset.

Our sport is unusual in so far as the London 2012 GB female sitting volleyball team was made up of personnel from very different backgrounds, and indeed disabilities. Some were born with their disability; some were ex service personnel who had become disabled in their brave defence of the nation’s interests in far flung places like Iraq and Afghanistan. Others like me were disabled as a result of traumas. In my case I had the misfortune to sit a few feet away from a suicide bomber on the train at Aldgate on the 7th July 2005.

Whilst that day changed my life irreversibly, my subsequent journey through survival, rehabilitation and recovery has taught me that team work is all around us and vital in all that we do. I needed a team of specialists to help me recover physically and the immense support of my incredible family to give me the emotional support and encouragement to reset my life, my goals and my future.

Teams operate best when there is clarity about who is responsible for what, and when there is a clear sense of what success looks like. For us as a newly put together team in a sport that none of us had played before, we needed determination, resilience and a lot of humour to see us through.

That is one of the reasons we are fondly called the ‘floor cleaners’. Let me explain… We are famous for leaving the floor of the sports hall cleaner at the end of our training session than at the start. Our sport used to have the title of ‘bum ball’ so I guess we have made progress on that front since!

Humour helped us through some of our more challenging situations as we spent hour after hour away from or loved ones learning how to gel together, anticipate the next move and to bond as a team with common values, goals and a code of conduct to which we all subscribed.

We did not come away from London 2012 with a gold medal, but inside our hearts and our minds each and every member of our sitting volleyball squad knew that we were winners. Winners as individuals, as winners as a team. We had defied the odds and become respected for our ability and our athleticism, rather than admired for our disability.

I now spend some of my time sharing my story and experiences, helping individuals and organisations to recognise that anything is possible in life. As an individual I have had an incredible journey since that fateful day in 2005. As a member of a team since that day, whether in recovery, as a re-bonded family or as an elite athlete I have come to realise that success is best achieved if you are working together. I did it – so can you!

See Martine Wright talk at Future Talent 2016

Hear Martine Wright talk about her incredibly inspiring journey at Future Talent 2016. To find out more and how to get your ticket, click here.

Future Talent 2016 is proud to be sponsored by:

Future Talent 2016 sponsors