Crafting a talent strategy with workforce intelligence

Better insights are key to upping retention and employee engagement

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By Austen Gregerson, Future of Work Specialist at Gloat

Winning on the margins is no longer just another way for organizations to maximize their profitability. As economic uncertainty mounts, making sure that every facet of a business is performing to its utmost potential may have far more severe consequences than a missed quota.

One of the places most ready for a shakeup is the fundamental methods by which organizations, well, organize themselves. That work started in the early 2020s as companies raced to adapt to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, but even two years after its onset, most talent leaders are still struggling with outdated tools. In fact, 58.4% of HR managers surveyed by Gloat Research Group report that their talent management systems do not work well together, are fast enough, are out of date, or are currently planning to update them.

Technology’s ability to create dynamic intra-organizational relationships from traditional vertical hierarchies is becoming the norm in forward-thinking organizations. However, what was once an innovation is quickly becoming a mainstay. At the root of this revolution is the massive amount of data capable of being processed that was once hidden from talent managers. The challenge now becomes processing that information in impactful ways, and workforce intelligence solutions aim to do just that: turn copious amounts of information into strategic advantages.

How does workforce intelligence factor into developing talent strategies?

The future of work is being built not only on information, but also on the ability to monitor, anticipate, and react to multiple sources of data in a cohesive manner. Traditionally, talent strategies were built around vertical work structures: employees had defined roles and responsibilities, operated within a specific department, and rarely went outside of their silo in order to simplify chains of command.

But today, the digitization of work has made it possible to be far more dynamic and responsive. A large enterprise might have millions of data points on its employees, covering everything from a person’s skills and department to their interests, aptitudes, and desires for growth opportunities.

Workforce intelligence platforms harmonize that data, putting the skills and capabilities of a company’s workforce into an understandable—and actionable—venue. With the help of proprietary machine learning techniques, these solutions can also help predict which skill gaps may be growing against emerging industry trends, allowing business leaders to redefine their talent strategy to mitigate problems before they turn into major challenges.

Increasingly, HR leaders understand the need to increase their organization’s speed and agility by implementing these new systems. Ryan Hill, Director at Gartner,  notes that “HR leaders need to select flexible strategies that enable the organization to pivot quickly and fill gaps likely to occur as conditions change—including an exodus of skilled talent. Some talent strategies also work better than others in meeting the needs specific to a recovering economy.”

Adaptability is the goal of many organizations looking toward the future. But to begin knowing how to compose a workforce without losing sight of the business’s overall mission, equipping leaders with the right insights to act on changing circumstances.

4 steps to creating a tailored talent strategy

#1. Understand where your skill needs exist

Growing global talent shortages necessitate a new focus on upskilling strategies across all organizations. According to Al Gore, “a widening skills gap would both exacerbate unemployment and its destabilizing effects and would result in trillions of unrealized revenue.”

Centralized workforce intelligence allows these trends to be seen before they become critical issues, giving leaders the lead time to set a new course. As skill needs change, resources spent strengthening areas that are either adequately represented or declining in value can create cascading issues as leaders play catch-up, wasting time and money where it’s not needed.

#2. See where skills are headed across the industry

As a company’s competition evolves, so must they. Understanding the value of every role in a global context ensures that a workforce can remain competitive, bringing the right combination of skills to the table.

Gloat’s Workforce Intelligence solution enables leaders to see how their people’s skills match up, allowing for smarter allocations of upskilling efforts and informing talent recruiters of which types of candidates to prioritize in their search. Through industry-leading benchmarking, leaders can see how their competition is investing in skills and pivot their talent strategy accordingly.

#3. Reduce time constraints by automating processes where possible

Manually-maintained spreadsheets and taxonomies are over. AI-powered platforms are capable of eliminating many of the workload bottlenecks that plague the deployment of most talent initiatives, bringing speed and scale to an otherwise cumbersome process.

Time is critical, and the human capital spent on reengineering talent strategies should be treated with the same care as the financial capital.

#4. Create a system for your company’s needs, not the “industry norm” 

Depending on an organization’s industry, region, size, or objectives, the right mix of talent strategies will differ greatly across the spectrum. Finding the applicable combination takes understanding the current realities at hand, not simply mimicking the latest trend or buzzwords in the HR discussion.

Leveraging workforce intelligence to modernize talent strategies

The future of work is taking form, but reengineering an organization prepared for it starts by understanding today’s realities. Accuracy and adaptability are the commonalities that most enterprises will strive for, but the right mix—which skills to prioritize, what hiring strategy to commit to—will be unique to each leader devising the plan.

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