Tomorrow’s HR department will look radically different part 2

In a previous blog, I stated a new paradigm for HR had arrived:

HR’s prime goal in life is to enrich and optimise the network in terms of talent and output.

Let’s start with defining network. Companies today are no longer the sum of their employees, managers, executive committee and board, working with suppliers and customers. They are much more. They are citizens of a global village, competitors in a hyper-connected world, impacting economies and humanity alike. The symbiotic relationship between businesses, digital and daily life is transforming our environment in its broadest sense into a networked future. The traditional dividing lines like countries, industry-sectors, legal frameworks, cultures, languages, time-zones, scale, speed and so many others too numerous to mention, are fading. Companies will succumb and adapt to an interwoven network of opportunity and threat, where a competitor is a partner and vice versa at the same time. The network will set the company’s agenda and strategy, replacing the traditional stakeholders.

This is happening as you read. You might argue this is old news. The world of business has always followed Darwin’s laws and will continue to do so. Adapt, mutate or be extinct. All I’m saying is that the business biosphere is continuously transforming and that fight or flight not really an option is anymore. There’s only fight. There’s nowhere to hide in the global village.

Defining talent in this paradigm has become more complex: talents are masters of networks. Talent turns the network into a competitive advantage for the company and themselves. Today’s global talent is self-conscious and will only work for a company if there is a strong return on investment. Alignment between these 2 objectives is paramount. Loyalty to one company from the employee perspective may equal missing out on reaching one’s full potential. It also threatens to leave the employee condemned to an ever-diminishing market value. Talents however stay loyal to networks. And this is where talent acquisition needs to play.

This vital business function needs to acquire masters of the network who share the company’s objectives, culture and values. This requires an in-depth industry and business knowledge together with professional assessment capabilities. Understanding where and how to find the talent in the network, coupled with assessing current skills and potential is what most professional talent acquisition teams today aspire to do. Together with the hiring manager, potentially the HR business partner and why not a consulting third-party, they form a comprehensive team.

But this is not enough. The real challenge is to become an integral part of the industry talent network in order to pro-actively influence this network and benefit from the network. Not only will the acquisition team need to find the adaptive, innovative, fast-decision making industry leaders with a network of equally talented associates, it will also need to dominate the network. Recruiters will not just hire 1 person for 1 job, but select, groom and grow a rich and multi-layered professional network to continue to recruit from. The war for talent has become a war for the network.

Let’s take mobile payments for example. Total mobile online retail payments are expected to grow from $75.8 billion to $217.4 billion at a 23 percent compounded annual growth rate between 2014 and 2019, according to Javelin’s Mobile Online Retail Payments Forecast. These numbers are up for debate but what’s certain is that only the companies dominating the mobile payments talent network will potentially capture this market and achieve the predicted growth. Companies with a traditional talent acquisition approach will be outpaced and lose out.


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