The New Talent Code - Unlocking Talent Potential

As we navigate in the new world of work, the role of skills is becoming a more pertinent part of employee growth. How do we understand skills within our organisation to the same level that we understand our roles? How can we understand the current state of our talent infrastructure and where we need to get to?

Skills must become part of the talent landscape at all stages of the employee lifecycle, whereby when you are hiring, the skills are known, when promoting, the skills are known, when offboarding, the skills are known. Across the entire HR ecosystem, whether that be learning, talent, succession or the process, we must be aspiring for everything to be talking to each other. 

It is about getting the basics right when it comes to skills and then using advancements in technology such as AI to understand skills and roles. We can then use the skills as it becomes part of our HR technology to start understanding how to reskill, upskill, unskill and beyond.

The BTN was recently delighted to partner with Eightfold, for an exclusive physical roundtable event to discuss ‘The New Talent Code, Unlocking Talent Potential.’ The session was hosted by Nick Timpson (Strategic Account Director at Eightfold) and James Ballard (Founding Partner and Executive Search Lead at Annapurna Recruitment) which touched on some key themes around upskilling, unskilling and how we can bring our employees on the journey too. The open and interactive conversation brought about the following takeaways: 

We need to start being the talent magnet within the organisation, rather than outside.

Reskilling is not just a trend, it is here to stay. Organisations that have already been looking to develop skills are also learning about how they can engage in reskilling more so than ever before. How can we reimagine talent so it isn’t a zero-sum business and actually part of an innovative process? How can we identify potential? People are becoming more and more critical about the roles they want and the roles they are in too. This results in organisations needing to consider how they manage that in an environment where loyalty has become a thing of the past. So what are some organisations doing to tackle the same issue? 

Organisations must start becoming a talent magnet from within the organisation, rather than always looking externally for their talent outside the organisation. We should look at grouping aptitude, attitude and potential together to make it operational. Internal Mobility should become an enabler, not a disabler. If we can educate our employees about the opportunity and build from the top, the possibilities are endless.


Empower employees to really understand what they want from their role.

The world of work is going through a real step change and there is now a real motivation in ensuring that there needs to be better diversity of candidates throughout the interviewing process. During the interview process, organisations need to consider what someone's inherent bias may be that they are bringing to the role. The discussion brought about the question as to whether interview training works or if biases are simply systemic? Companies need not just to be focusing on diversity but also be training inclusion. If an organisation is looking for a particular skill but that skill has a potential shorter 'lifespan', then there should be a real train of thought about the future skills, not the skill they need right for this moment in time. 

How can an organisation communicate to their people to want to move internally? Would they like to experience another role? Or would they perhaps be interested in spending four hours a week trialling a different role?

Employees must want to enter their data into HR systems for employers to be able to use their data to give them recommendations. It is important that all organisations ask themselves, what are they doing as an organisation and how can they get the inertia moving? People get forced down a linear career trajectory, so companies must understand how they can be educated about the other options available to them that may be something different. What can companies do with their employees and how can they ask them what they would like to do, without feeling there are going to be judged? Everyone deserves to find the right career for them. It is up to HR to give the ability to their employees to allow them to find their path. If a company can demonstrate and show that they have options, the likelihood of them retaining their employees would be much higher than if they didn’t. It’s not just linking learning to skills, it’s about bringing people on a skills journey and bringing their leader on this journey too. 

The conversation led to the debate around whether managers discriminate against internal candidates? How can organisations understand the other skills they have through extra-curriculum or from other roles they have previously done?

It takes approximately 6 months for an external person to get to know your organisation. You could spend 6 months getting a current employee who is around 60% suitable for the role, for example, and get them up to 90% as capable. How can companies support those employees who may feel that they aren't suitable for a role? Technology is constantly evolving, today you could be relevant, and tomorrow you may not. Organisations need to upskill their employees to be ahead of their clients, but for them to do that, employees need to understand what their clients do. They need to think less internal vs external. 


Retention is far more important than recruitment.

Nowadays, employees are becoming more likely to want to work for a business with a real purpose. The employee experience has become more important than ever before but there is no silver bullet, we must constantly learn and adapt. So is failure a problem? When companies look at the potential of individuals, it is not just skill matches, it is the success of the market. Organisations need to build a model of confidence. 

Every person has potential, otherwise…why are they in the company? Organisations need to figure out how they can understand what people want to do with their potential. It is therefore important that companies move away from past performance as that doesn’t showcase the potential for the future, that only shows history. Past performance from one organisation to the next is completely irrelevant. When a company is reimagining talent, they have to look at it in the context of the individual organisation. So how can a company measure motivation? Some take 12 simple questions that align with psychology to understand more. Motivation to learn, grow and develop. How can we prompt conversations between line managers and employees? 

Companies MUST evolve. What does talent want and how can companies find that out? It is not HR that needs to have those discussions, it is the organisation that needs to provide the tools to start the conversation. Internal mobility is therefore an enabler, not a disabler. The truth is that it takes a lot more than just HR to combat talent potential. 


About Eightfold

Eightfold’s deep-learning talent intelligence platform is powered by the largest global talent data set to unleash the full potential of the total workforce – employees, candidates, contractors, and citizens. Grounded in Equal Opportunity Algorithms, the Eightfold® Talent Intelligence Platform uses deep-learning AI to help: attract the best talent for the job, understand how your workforce stacks up against the competition, identify and develop skills to unlock workforce potential, deliver bias-free talent recruitment, and much more.