5 Steps Every Hybrid Organization Must Take to Succeed

Lessons from Our Chat with Josh Bersin


By Nicole Schreiber-Shearer, Content Marketing Specialist @ Gloat

September 14, 2021

Going Hybrid

Most organizations have reached the same conclusion about the future of work: it’s hybrid. McKinsey research reveals that nine out of ten enterprises will be combining remote and on-site work.

However, the move to hybrid isn’t the only disruptive force that promises to change how we work. There’s also a new war for talent. In our recent chat, Josh Bersin explained how a shrinking population and widening skills gaps have put the power in employees’ hands. With Monster.com now reporting that 95% of workers are considering a job change, what does it take to win this new war for talent and thrive in the hybrid era?

5 Best Practices for Success in the Hybrid Era

As the stakes rise and the new war for talent intensifies, building a blueprint for successful hybrid working will only become more important–and more challenging. To chart a path forward, we’ve brought some of the leading HR voices together to share their insights.

Hosted by Josh Bersin, our conversation featured Markus Graf, Global Head of Talent at Novartis, Jean Pelletier, VP of Digital Talent Transformation at Schneider Electric, and Keegan Bowman, AVP of Skills and Performance at Metlife. Some of their top takeaways include:

#1. Give Career Models an Agile Makeover

Agility emerged as the ultimate differentiator during the pandemic. Businesses needed to pivot quickly to achieve operational continuity, and it was the fast-moving, flexible organizations that were most successful in making these changes.

As McKinsey’s Aaron De Smet notes, agility is about redesigning your organizational structure, creating new capabilities, and altering the way your business works. For many enterprises, that might mean taking a step away from traditional career models that can hold your people back and replacing them with a talent marketplace’s dynamic career pathing, which adapts as your business evolves.

Bowman describes how Metlife plans to use their own talent marketplace to enhance career agility. “What we’re looking at doing is giving people a view into the possibilities. We think that’s going to be so much more valuable than having a perfectly planned out, linear career path,” she explains.

Pelletier speaks of a similar strategy at Schneider Electric, and notes how workplace dispersion has only reinforced their platform’s importance. She says

When people are talking about going hybrid, the talent marketplace was such an enabler. It gave transparency to the employees about what we had in terms of supply and demand. It replaced the old telephone method and allowed us to take down walls and borders.

Jean Pelletier, VP of Digital Talent Transformation at Schneider Electric

#2. Let Experiential Learning Lead the Way

In the hybrid era, L&D has been upgraded from business priority to business necessity. As the pace of change accelerates and the half-life for skills shrinks, everyone must keep learning to stay relevant.

While a formalized curriculum is a step in the right direction, some skills can only be gained through on-the-job experience. However, finding the right candidates for part-time projects and gigs can be particularly challenging in the hybrid era, due to decreased visibility.

Rather than relying on an LSP alone, Bowman explains how introducing a talent marketplace has taken the learning experience at Metlife to the next level. She notes

In the past, I could easily go to our LSP to find formal learning, either training or reading or something that could help me fill in that gap or learn more. But more importantly, now I can take it even further with our talent marketplace. I can say: ‘Well, I’ve developed a skill in this area, let me go see where I can apply it.’

Keegan Bowman, AVP of Skills and Performance at Metlife

#3. Get Ready for a Culture Change

For many enterprises, it’s the culture piece of hybrid working that proves most challenging. As fluidity and flexibility increase, the way your people interact with one another and approach their work needs to change.

Rather than relying solely on top-down ways of working, successful hybrid cultures put the employee in the driver’s seat and encourage them to take ownership of their own career. Pelletier describes this mindset change as “giving the keys of driving mobility over to what I call the employees of the organization.”

This can be a significant transition, which is why Graf recommends a more gradual approach to making the shift.

It’s definitely a journey that takes time,” he explains. “To really bring the talent marketplace to life and also to manage this culture change, we decided to start off with the small gigs. Like spending an extra 20% of the time in terms of projects just to make it a little bit more digestible and bite-sized.

Markus Graf, Global Head of Talent at Novartis

#4. Allow Skills to Speak for Themselves

In the hybrid era, career progression can’t be determined by who you know or the people you’re sitting next to. Instead, skills and experiences must be the deciding factors that determine which employees are the best fit for growth opportunities.

Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible for managers to maintain an in-depth understanding of everyone’s unique competencies, at least manually. And without equal visibility, bias will inevitably play some role in deciding who gets chosen for promotions.

What can enterprises do to prevent bias from creeping in? Talent marketplaces ensure decisions are skills-led, in turn creating a culture of equal opportunity that empowers every employee to achieve their full potential.

Pelletier describes how Schneider Electric utilizes their platform to gain a fuller picture of what employees are bringing to the table

“We have an entire employee inventory that doesn’t just look at what I did at Schenider but takes into account my past history. We’ve never been able to mine that from an AI perspective before. So it does de-bias who your candidate slate could be.”

Jean Pelletier, VP of Digital Talent Transformation at Schneider Electric

#5. Build Your Talent Pool from Within

With the new war for talent already under way, businesses will need to get creative when searching for skilled employees in the hybrid era. Instead of making external recruitment the default for bridging skills gaps, enterprises are increasingly looking to existing employees and alumni.

Bersin describes this change, noting,

“Companies are telling me that they’ve trained their recruiters to become internal headhunters. So they’re searching around inside the company getting to know people, looking for highly skilled individuals that are ready to move. Almost like talent scouts, which given the state of the job market, is a good thing to do.”

Josh Bersin

An emphasis on internal mobility promises to be a winning strategy for multiple reasons. It gives workers what they’re looking for, as Graf articulates. “Employees would like to explore opportunities within other parts of the organization. In fact, this was the number one pain point for our associates when we did some research on employee experience,” he notes.

Internal recruitment can also come with its own set of bottom-line benefits. When discussing a talent marketplace’s ROI, Pelletier points not only to the unlocked hours, but also to the savings in hiring costs. “Think of your projects and your gigs. Normally you might go and hire a contractor to do something, when there is someone who has the bandwidth within your own company to do what you need.”

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Setting the Stage for Marketplaces

As we enter the hybrid era, autonomy will become a powerful weapon in the battle to retain top talent. Employees have increasingly come to expect more control around when and where they work, as evidenced by recent research revealing that nearly 50% of workers would quit their jobs if hybrid working becomes off limits.

The demand for greater autonomy isn’t limited to the physical workplace. Employees also want to take ownership of their professional development, which is where the talent marketplace comes into play.

Bersin explains that while marketplaces may look like recruiting platforms at first, as usage builds, they become an essential data source that shapes the entire HR landscape. As organizations prepare for their hybrid future, these real-time insights will equip leaders with the transparency needed to optimize employee experience in the next chapter of work.

Hybrid models are quickly becoming the dominant way of work. If you’re looking to learn more about how a talent marketplace can enhance hybrid working, check out our full conversation with Josh Bersin here.

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