As recently as fifteen years ago, understanding your workforce and keeping everyone that was a part of it informed and engaged was a fairly easy task. Most of the workforce was comprised of employees working in a defined physical location; a poster in a public place or a group email was enough. Today, the modern workforce is a myriad of employees, contractors, outsourced service providers, consultants, strategic partners and even volunteers dispersed around the globe.
It’s easy to lose sight of the holistic workforce as most of us are so busy trying to get things done we don’t have the time to step back and think what the true organization looks like and how all of the labor resources executing work on the organizations behalf are sourced, informed, developed, motivated and aligned. It’s also easy to lose sight because in most organizations we use different tools to track and communicate with different workforce segments and rely on different corporate functions to oversee various labor types.
As businesses are being forced to become more agile due to changing environmental factors such as capital shifts to emerging markets, changing population demographics and rapid technological innovation, the use of alternative labor sources that can be ramped up/down and changed more quickly than traditional employees will only increase.
Engaging talent to leverage your past workforce, empower your current workforce and develop your future workforce is no easy task, especially given the fragmentation of labor types and tools used to communicate.
Today, the most valuable members of the workforce learn new tools and approaches to get what work needs to get done through social channels and self-directed continuous learning faster than the organization could formally develop them. They change jobs more frequently, often applying themselves to projects inside their organization versus tasks. They also advance their careers faster becoming versatilists that can leverage their professional networks when greater knowledge/skills are needed or specialists with deep knowledge.
Driving strategic talent engagement today requires that organizations accept and adapt to a workforce community that isn’t solely employee centric that is hyper-connected, digitally savvy, and that is moving through the organization more quickly than most historical talent management systems can support.
Communities are a cornerstone of civilization. All of us belong to one or more, and when the community is well planned and connected it enables everyone in the community to achieve far more than they ever could on their own. Historically, professionals were developed by their peers within their community, their skills and knowledge applied to whatever work needed to get done across neighborhoods.
Today’s modern organizations need to leverage communities to connect the myriad of labor resources working as the organization, to keep them informed, to develop them in a direction that benefits all, to motivate and reward for contribution, and most importantly to enable talent management in a way feasible for the overtasked HR professional.