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Talent Coven

Talent Coven

Author: Think Talent Services

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Welcome to Talent Coven, a podcast channel by Think Talent Services for all things talent – featuring conversations with leading experts from various industries. We try to explore all current topics, issues and challenges faced by organisations in the area of talent management. Stay tuned!
19 Episodes
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With the nature of work and workplaces changing, managers will need to think and behave differently in the future. Employees and managers will be impacted by aspects of remote working, level of trust in organizations and management, own learning and skilling, dealing with the new known and unknown, and the value and economic impact of their work under deeper scrutiny, among others.While some core aspects of the ‘manager’ role will not change, many other aspects will. What will particularly need a shift is the how of performing the role. How will a manager need to think and behave given challenges of productivity, delivery, employee engagement, capability building and integration of tasks and people?This podcast season, we delve deeper into different aspects of this subject of managerial capability, and how organizations should re-think about it in their context.
There has always been a debate about both efficacy of and investment in managerial training. There is recognition that manager capability is key to smooth functioning of an organization. However, given the business challenges and economic environment in the next few months and years, is this really an area of focus for CEOS and CHROs?Why should organizations invest in managerial capability building? Is there money and mindshare for it?Whose need is it anyway? Employees may be quite happy in non managerial roles in the future given the deep challenges, stress and need for learning that will come with manager roles.Should not each individual manager actually build their own skills? If people aspire to manager positions, they should ready themselves. This is an argument forwarded by many.Is investment in managerial capability similar to investment in other people capabilities, e.g., technical skills. How will leaders balance and decide where to invest?
CEOs at the end of the day are worried about organizational performance. In these times, agility is also in focus. Pivot or Perish is much used and abused in the current context. Many CEOs believe that the middle layers of managers are not really required. Others differ. How do you really build a agile organization? Are a significant number of managers required to be able to remain competitive? Or is it a hindrance?What kind of investment is required in manager capability building to really make them valuable to the organization?Is is easy to establish a linkage between manager capability and organization performance?Can most current managers adapt to the new demands of workplaces of the future? What needs to be done by leaders to enable that?
While manager capability is critical in ensuring organizational effectiveness, it becomes even more critical in manufacturing organizations. The role of a manager in manufacturing has many different and added dimensions in comparison to say IT or ITES industry manager.What additional capabilities and mindsets are required for managers in manufacturing as against some other industries? And why are these important?How is the role of the manager shifting given the recent pandemic and shift in how work is organized and performed?The complexity and variety of tasks being performed by the manager is not easy. What  differentiates individuals who excel in these roles?How does one identify and train other individuals to excel in these managerial roles? 
While manager capability is critical in ensuring organizational effectiveness, what it means is changing rapidly over time. With the recent pandemic, it has perhaps changed significantly and for ever.It appears that manager roles will be even more demanding in the future? So why  is that?What is changing in terms of specific skills and mindsets that will be required of managers in the future? And what is not changing?What contexts in organizations will change through this pandemic? And therefore what aspects of soft capabilities will managers need to build in the future?Organizations will become even more cost conscious and require improved productivity of managers? Will they get sandwiched between management and employees? How could they deal with this aspect?
There is one argument that managers should choose what they should learn. This could help both hyper-personalization and deeper learning & engagement. Others believe that learning must be curated based on organization and role requirements? But organizations are focused on capability in context of  immediate performance and the individual may well be concerned about future skills and capabilities.How does one strike a balance between the two approaches? And how does one implement it in practice?What the downsides of either approach? What could be potential safeguards, especially as demands from a role shift very quickly these days and there is limited time to learn and perform.And how does one ensure that the manager is not ending up using organizational resources with limited linkage to organizational benefit? Or learning only what the organization guides her to and finds the career being jeopardized?
Taking learning interventions virtual is not new, just that the need has suddenly accelerated. Like any other organizational change process, it is complex, involving processes, technology, people, mindsets and leadership. Companies are experimenting with a wide variety of variables and how to make things work. Aspects of application, inclusivity, learner-centricity, cost and effectiveness as additional dimensions to keep in mind.Here is a series of conversations that enables us to look at different aspects of this challenge - how are companies and practitioners thinking about the various aspects of taking learning interventions virtual.
While companies and leaders understand the need and utility of investing in learning, the jury is still out on effectiveness and stickiness on some kinds of learning - e.g. virtual, for certain.What are leaders expressing in terms of building capability for the future? What have they learnt through the last few months? Do CHROs still need to sell learning - especially virtual learning?If yes, then how does a CHRO go about selling the concept and implementation of virtual learning to leadership teams and boards? And how does it get established as a way of life in organizations - what strategy and tactics does the CHRO drive?How has the role of the HR team changed wrt to learning? How can they play a meaningful role in linking learning to business success?
How does one design a learning journey that talks to the human being and is effective for the business? What will appeal to the learner inside and evoke curiosity, engagement, competition, feel good, experimentation mindset  and other positive emotions which will drive both learning as well as application?What design principles will support the variety of learning needs-technical, functional, behavioral, leadership etc.Do learning journeys really need design or curation? Or just leave it to individual paths to be taken by learners?
Diversity and inclusion is an extremely important agenda for almost all companies today, for a variety of reasons. In the learning area, this is still to become a mainstream topic of discussion and debate.Are companies providing equal opportunities to learners from all backgrounds and with different challenges?What biases can potentially creep in while designing a learning agenda for a diverse company, and what are the watch outs?What kinds of things are companies doing to make inclusion and accessibility almost a given in learning journey design?There special initiatives needed for learning design for differently abled or less privileged by education, language etc. even though they may bring relevant skills to the table. How can organizations start linking learning to talent management and careers to create a more integrated picture and an equal world?
Virtual learning of all kinds is proliferating and is everywhere around us. It has been there for a while but has moved relatively slowly in terms of uptake. The pandemic is getting organizations to re-think how they could create better blends in learning interventions. Measuring effectiveness is a key subject to tackle, especially as historically learning measurement has always been debated and challenged by business.What challenges are seen in virtual learning measurement and effectiveness? How are these different from those applicable for traditional learning?What different experiments have companies or teams tried in this regard? And what has worked or not?What is seen as the next step in measuring learning effectiveness - link to job performance? Aspects of succession, career management, skill portability?What measurements would apply to individual learners and what would apply to cohorts/teams and organizations? How does one link these and weave them together?
There is a push for digital culture and virtual learning as a part of it. In fact, going digital has been on the agenda of companies for a while now. There is though a wide gap still between those that have adopted virtual, and those that have not—both at individual learner level as well as at the organizational level. How does one build mindsets in organizations that become a self driven engine in this regard?What experiments have organizations tried, or trying - and what has worked, or not?What will it take leaders to help drive the culture, especially in economies and companies where there is one way dependent relationship between the employee and the employer?What nudges are being built within HR systems which can help further encourage the self reliant learning culture among employees?
Assessments of different kinds will always be part of the HR playbook. What does it take to build a culture that removes the negative emotions associated with such processes?How do you ensure that the humanness is built at the core of the assessment process? 
Large scale assessment implies the ability to manage massive numbers of participants all being assessed at the same time. This further implies the ability to process, analyze and report on that data, as well as the organizational infrastructure to repeat the cycle over and over.1) What does it take to run assessments at scale—thousands of them at the same go?2) The learnings - from planning to execution, from communication to monitoring - what needs to be managed? And what could be potential showstoppers?
What does it take to run assessments on the ground? What are the tactical and minute insights that make the difference?What needs to be taken care of at different stages - preparation, during the assessment and post assessment?
What does it take to run assessments on the ground? What are the tactical and minute insights that make the difference?What needs to be taken care of at different stages - preparation, during the assessment and post assessment?
The task of leadership is getting complex by the day.What do we continue to look for in leaders? And what else will we look for when we assess leaders?Assessing for leadership has several risks associated with it, and failures can be costly. How do we ensure that some of that risk is mitigated, through assessment or associated methods?
What will we look for in leaders going forward? What will change? And how will we assess some of these things?Areas like resilience, emotional intelligence, judgment, soft skills etc. are anyway difficult to assess. How does one assess these intangibles better in leaders?
How do you ensure that assessment investments do not go waste?Linking assessments to other TM processes is key. What seen works well? Or not? What could HR teams focus on to ensure that assessments do not remain tactical and standalone in the overall TM and HR strategy of the company?
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