March 28, 2022 – Since the spring of 2020, businesses around the world have significantly changed the way they manage their talent. The workforce has in many ways been transformed, especially in terms of remote work and relationships between employers and employees.
Dimitri Davreux, IRC Luxembourg and managing partner at adVeci Advisors, says that for years talent management in organizations has been locked within the same mental model: an energy-consuming quarrel about what talent actually means; the selection of talented individuals based on a mix of rational and political criteria; and the roll-out of talent programs designed to stretch and move these individuals into managerial roles early on. “This framework still holds true for many organizations, and it needs to change fast, particularly when dealing with junior/early career talent,” said Mr. Davreux. In a recent report, he explained why.
Many executives agree on the fact that talent programs have a limited effect on the retention of young professionals, according to Mr. Davreux. “As a matter of fact, considering the volatility of generations Y and Z, having been channeled through a talent program might incentivize them to advertise this when looking for a new job,” he said. “Many candidates believe that company values, the nature of the job, and competitive compensation are rather more effective retention levers. Which means that, at the least, talent program investment should be scrutinized for actual contribution to retention.”
“We notice that leading executives are desperate for hybrid profiles: they want young professionals with a wide array of business knowledge,” said Mr. Davreux. “Yet too often talent programs are obsessed with developing so-called leadership skills -strategy, people management, etc.… which often will not be put to use at an early career stage anyway.”
As many young professionals have a larger appetite for cross-functional knowledge, companies should build upon this appetite and offer far more open and diverse skill acquisition programs, said Mr. Davreux. “Innovative companies will require neuro-diverse, polysyllabic talents, rather than mono-syllabic hyper-specialists,” he said. “And tomorrow’s talents want a strong leg in their core specialty, as well as skills in many other, diverse fields. Good talent programs will capitalize on this appetite for learning diverse disciplines, and continuously nurture curiosity and skill diversity.”
One of the recurring expectations of younger professionals is about their employer’s social responsibility. This includes true everyday commitment to sustainability, to the environment, to diversity, to social inclusion, to ethics, to societal change, according to Mr. Davreux.
“Regretfully, many talent programs limit their scope to enhancing their talents’ business performance,” he said. “Younger professionals. are less driven by their employer’s business performance, but by their values and legacy. This is why we believe today’s talent programs should include social responsibility initiatives or projects as equal partners of business performance goals.”
Company culture is not easily encapsulated or often prioritized, even when staff are working in the office, interfacing in real time with the company philosophy. Working from home has revealed not only how few organizations have refined their company culture sufficiently, but also how few have yet to even consider company culture, according to Alyssa Gruber, head of administration and management search at Hudson Gate Partners. “What is salient now is the laser-focus on building and fortifying existing culture, and also, the focus on effectively communicating company ethos to employees, who are working both remotely and in-office,” she said “The time for only conceptually workshopping culture is far past. There is an immediacy to the need for well-articulated values, tenants, and policies which employees not only hear about, but experience.”
“There’s no doubt that young professionals can deploy their talent to handle business and societal goals in parallel,” said Mr. Davreux. “Now companies need to provide them with the resources to succeed at both.”
Last year, IRC Global Executive Search Partners strengthened its global presence by adding adVeci Advisors as a new member firm in Luxembourg. adVeci Advisors became IRC Luxembourg. With more than 20 years of experience in senior HR roles in Europe, Asia and the U.S., Mr. Davreux has expertise in the creation, reorganization, and transformation of companies in the financial, banking, professional services, and PE-backed sectors. adVeci Advisors provides executive search, outplacement, and talent assessment. The firm’s practices include financial services, service providers, healthcare, PE, and investment managers.
IRC has partners in over 80 cities across Europe, the Middle East, the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Australia. The consortium has completed more than 30,000 assignments for more than 3,000 clients in virtually every industry segment and function.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media