Jean Martin of CEB: A Seismic Shift in Talent Management

By Bhavani Prakash

Ms Jean Martin, Executive Director of CEB’s HR practice, made a succinct and interesting summary of trends in talent management, during the Singapore Human Capital Summit 2013 last month.

Jean Martin at SHCS 2013

In a study involving 3,500 organisations spanning private, government and non-profit sectors, HR practices were benchmarked and the following trends emerged.

TREND 1: It is a paradoxical age of labour abundance and profound talent scarcity.

Talent availability is tightening in a much more disruptive way as shown by the data here:

*  34% of  organisations in the world are finding it difficult to fill jobs, and the figure is higher in Asia at 45%

*  Only 24% of hiring managers in Singapore are satisfied with the quality of their newest hire, with the figure at 37% in Asia.

* One third of organisations are not sure if they would have the skills and competencies, going forward.

TREND 2.  The nature of the workplace itself is radically changing. Call it the New (Networked) Environment.
The following diagram summarises these four observable trends of a) the need for greater collaboration b)Increased reliance on others to get work done c) Interpersonal coordination d) Cross-silo coordination in Asia



“As organizations have become more matrixed, employees across the organization share formal responsibilities, authority, and accountability for more work outcomes. While informal working relationships and networks have always been important, getting work done today requires more collaboration
among a broader and more diverse set of people who are performing new tasks and working across more geographic locations. Collaborating today is harder than it was yesterday:
■ Sixty-seven percent of employees report an increase in work requiring active collaboration.
■ One-half of all employees indicate a significant increase in stakeholders needed to make a decision.
■ Fifty-seven percent report an increase in the number of coworkers they work with in other geographic locations.
■ Sixty percent of employees report working with 10 or more people on a day-to-day basis (and one-half of these employees report needing to work
with more than 20).
■ Sixty-five percent of employees indicate they must manage external stakeholders (i.e., outside their company) to perform their work.”
– CEB Report ‘Breakthrough Performance in the New Environment’

TREND 3: Asian workforce is becoming multi-generational and multi-market:

* In Asia, the amount of work with coworkers in another location increased by 66% in the last 3 years.

* 28% of the workforce are from Gen Y, and 65% from Gen X with a tiny percentage of 7% as baby boomers

Ms Martin observed that to future proof the organisation from these rapid changes, successful talent outcomes would come from integration with business processes and alignment with business objectives.  Developing leaders would be critical to ensure there is a talent pipeline, as well as to ensure knowledge transfer from a senior to a junior workforce. There will also be a shift from expat to local talent. Finally, instead of thinking only of individual contribution, the changing nature of the workplace implies looking at the networked effect and team dynamics.


For further viewing: 

Jean Martin’s interview with Channel News Asia:

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