Update Talent Management Practices for a VUCA World
2020 challenged many of our professional and personal conventions.
The pressure put on organizations and their human capital has been like no other in recent history by virtue of the pandemic’s impact on our working lives. Shifts from customary workplace approaches, such as going to an office and interacting in person with colleagues, changed the relationship between managers and employees.
It happened suddenly and without a playbook of past lessons or best practices to draw from, and left leaders and individual employees to discern the best ways to work and collaborate in order to achieve results for their organizations.
Our recent situation may best be described with the term VUCA (an acronym for volatile, uncertain, complexity and ambiguous). The concept of VUCA traces its roots to military training and the U.S. Army War College, but has come to be more contemporarily used in organizational leadership training. It became more commonplace in corporations following disruptive economic events, such as the bursting of the dot-com bubble in the 1990s and the Great Recession of 2007-08, as organizations diagnosed and solved problems using this new framework.
In short, the challenges imposed by our increasingly VUCA world require the ability to learn, adapt and develop new capabilities. That capacity is central to operating in the current situation caused by the global pandemic and will be instructive for the next challenge that comes our way. Organizations should re-evaluate their talent management practices to meet the moment.
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As mentioned in a previous article focused on talent management, the nature of human capital practices are to establish systematic and sustainable processes focused on optimizing an organization’s capabilities, and in this way build muscle memory to withstand future disruptive events. Talent management is comprised of a dozen or so well-established practices, so let’s re-examine a few to address and adjust for the current VUCA environment.
The performance management process is the cornerstone of organizational, team and individual alignment. It works through the integrated process of setting goals, holding progress checks, providing feedback and culminates with an annual review.
This practice deserves attention and adjustment in our current dynamic environment. As you move forward toward a new business as usual, here are some questions and adjustments to consider for each performance management practice.
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More than ever, organizations must be focused on the core competencies and capabilities that provide them with competitive advantage and differentiation in their industries and markets.
An organization’s people and their associated skills are the critical link to high performance during normal times. That's no different during this current VUCA period, but regardless here are some questions and practices to consider as organizations move forward.
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With revised organizational goals defined and an updated assessment of the talent and skills needed to work differently to address the current challenges, a renewed talent movement plan can solve for an organization's capacity and capability challenges.
At the intersection of our recent experiences with what has been a VUCA time and the enduring importance of an organization’s human capital is what will ostensibly become our new or revised normal.
By utilizing these tried-and-true talent practices combined with adjustments to those methods for our current unpredictable and dynamic situation, organizations can learn and adapt in order to avoid becoming FUBAR, to borrow another military acronym.
About the Author
David DeFilippo is the principal consultant and coach at DeFilippo Leadership, Inc., where he focuses on executive coaching, leadership development and talent management.