Talent redeployment: what it is and why do it

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By Nicole Schreiber-Shearer, Future of Work Specialist at Gloat

Learn how to reallocate employees to maximize agility and unlock potential


From junior-level employees to senior leadership, everyone understands that the working world is rapidly changing.  New AI use cases have the potential to transform operating models, skill needs, and job requirements—and these shifts will only continue to become more significant as technology keeps advancing.

Paired with ongoing economic turbulence,  today’s ever-changing landscape is inspiring many executives to rethink traditional talent management tactics in favor of strategies designed to unlock agility. Given that skills-based organizations are 57% more likely to be agile, it’s easy to understand why 90% of companies are experimenting with these strategies.

As skills initiatives rise to the top of business agendas, HR leaders are turning to talent redeployment to ensure employees with in-demand expertise are putting their skills to use in the most high-impact areas of the organization. While most HR teams are already familiar with the concept of redeploying talent, there’s a new generation of tools and frameworks designed to maximize the success of every reallocation.

What is talent redeployment?

Talent redeployment describes moving an employee from a position of lower or decreasing priority to another role of higher priority that requires similar skills and experience. While the nature of the job shift will vary depending on organizational needs and available employee resources, redeployments are typically lateral moves that don’t necessarily equate to a change in salary or level of seniority.

Redeployment will become increasingly important as skill needs and job requirements evolve due to advances in technology. According to the World Economic Forum, nearly a quarter of all jobs will change within the next five years and 69 million new jobs are expected to be created during the same time period. Since many roles will require similar skill sets to their aging or less in-demand counterparts, redeployments can help companies shift talent into open opportunities without external hiring.

What are the benefits of a talent redeployment strategy?

There are several benefits associated with talent redeployment, including:

  • Empower employees to grow with your business
    Businesses that choose to redeploy talent—rather than laying off workers whose roles are made redundant—send a strong signal to their employees that their organization is committed to their development. When companies invest in growing their workforce’s skills, employees will be inspired to achieve their full potential.
  • Reduce time spend and budget
    Instead of wasting time and resources searching for external talent, organizations can simply move their existing employees into different roles that align with their skills and experiences. This can eliminate much of the onboarding that’s typically required to bring new external hires up to speed.
  • Improve collaboration
    Redeployment facilitates better collaboration between departments and teams, in turn enabling organizations to break down silos. When talent is shared or moved into a new functional unit, these employees bring the knowledge they learned from working as part of one team with them into a new part of the organization.

What are the challenges associated with talent redeployment?

Given these benefits, some leaders may wonder why every organization isn’t taking full advantage of talent redeployments. Oftentimes, it’s not because executives aren’t interested in strategically shifting internal talent; instead, a lack of skills insights holds some organizations back.

If leaders don’t have a complete picture of the capabilities their workforce has, they will struggle to identify which employees have knowledge that can be put to use within another part of the organization. Other executives may be unaware of the units within their business that are looking for an extra set of hands or they might be unsure about which skills will be transferable to different departments.

4 steps to implementing a successful talent redeployment strategy

If you’re interested in upgrading your approach to talent redeployments, here are a few steps to get started:

#1. Take stock of workforce skills
An in-depth understanding of the skills within your workforce is the foundation for all successful talent redeployments. Before leaders can begin shifting employees into higher priority areas of their business, they must first be able to understand who possesses the capabilities needed to make such a move successfully. They’ll also need insights into which skills may be transferable to other roles and the knowledge gaps workers will need to bridge to effectively transition into new positions.

Traditionally, information about employee skills has been siloed amongst various HR systems, making it challenging for leaders to gain a complete understanding of workforce capabilities. Fortunately, there’s a new generation of skills intelligence tools like Gloat’s Skill Foundation which are designed to equip executives with a 360-degree view of their workforce’s knowledge and expertise.

#2. Assess organizational needs and objectives
In addition to assessing the skills their workforce has, leaders must also evaluate organizational priorities. COVID-19 served as a prime example of how quickly consumer needs can shift: in the midst of the pandemic, many companies saw demand for some products or services plummet while other areas of their business were experiencing unparalleled usage surges. With the right talent redeployment strategy, leaders can identify where these high-priority projects and business units lie and begin shifting employee resources to the teams that need them most.

#3. Align skills and aspirations with open opportunities
Once leaders have an idea of their workforce’s skills and their organizational priorities, they need a mechanism that matches employees’ skills to open opportunities—which is where talent marketplaces come into play. Visionary leaders are harnessing these platforms to efficiently shift employees from one area of the business to another, based on the skills their people have and the knowledge their hiring managers are looking for.

#4. Help employees see the bigger picture
In addition to reallocating employees based on business priorities, talent redeployments can be an excellent opportunity for employees to take their careers in new directions. If someone wishes to explore a different career path and it aligns with business needs, redeploying them to a new role can become the ultimate win-win.

To open employees’ eyes to new opportunities within their organization, many leaders are harnessing talent marketplaces with built-in career pathing. These tools can even show workers the skills they will need to learn to take on various roles within their organization.

To see what a successful talent redeployment strategy looks like in action, learn how Seagate responded to shifts in demand by reallocating talent and prioritizing internal mobility.

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