Why COVID-19 will drive growth in talent management tech

Over the last several years, companies have been working to improve internal talent mobility. But now, especially driven by a pandemic that’s shifting workplace priorities and making companies restructure at lightning-fast speed, the interest is exploding in both the concept and in tools to do it well.

“We’ve seen an acceleration of interest in the talent marketplace concept and organizations adapting to this as quickly as possible,” Sona Manzo, managing director at consulting firm Deloitte, said Wednesday during the HR Technology Conference & Exposition, held virtually.

“Technology-enabled platforms, which are typically powered by AI these days, are empowering our employees to really understand what those opportunities are and connecting the skills and interests they have to the right opportunities,” she said.

Investing in talent management benefits both the employee and the organization, she said: Workers are able to gain access to a wide range of opportunities; it helps them chart a course to build skills and achieve goals; and it also increases engagement and retention.

From the organization lens, the investment allows them to gain deep insight into workers’ skills, capabilities and interests. It can uncover unknown worker capabilities and untapped capacity, matching labor with needs. It also allows employers to respond to shifting priorities in the short term and thrive in the long run.

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Early adopters of talent management systems have reaped rewards, Manzo explained. One leading consumer brand company, for instance, found that implementing a talent marketplace helped them gain greater insights into their talent and find ways to address supply and demand challenges. Another surprising benefit they unlocked was over 30,000 hours of untapped capacity. “They were astonished to find people in their full-time roles express an incredible interest in exploring support to increase skills—shadowing on projects, mentoring and volunteering,” Manzo said.

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It also made the company much better able to handle the pandemic.

“When COVID hit, they were able to take advantage of this concept and [use] it to start looking at ways to redeploy workforce capabilities,” Manzo said. “With layoffs they had to manage and hiring managers facing hiring freezes and an inability to get some critical work done, they started to segment some of their work into actual work packets for skills that needed to be accomplished.”

Overall, the need for workforce development has amplified over the past decade, said Michael Griffiths, principal learning and leadership practice head at Deloitte.

Still, although research finds that 74% of HR pros say reskilling the workforce is important or very important for their success over the next 12-18 months, only 10% say they are very ready to address this trend. The data indicates there’s more work to do in the space.

“It’s not just skills; it’s moving beyond skills and the idea of enhancing workers’ resilience in the face of constant change.”

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