CEO Imperative – Talenet Readiness – The Essential Strategic Intent

 In a period of global, recession it is easy to ignore the very real phenomenon of imminent  talent shortages.  As we enter the next decade, a perfect storm is descending on enterprise ability to access and retain the necessary talent to promote success.


nGenera research begun in 2003 suggests the following 5 trends  cannot be ignored as companies attempt to secure necessary skilled resources. 



The Aging of the Worldwide Workforce


The workforce is Aging,   in the United States, the fastest growing segment of the workforce are those over the age of 55.  The situation is similar in most developed countries.  Yet most Talent Acquisition and Development  processes target the younger worker between the ages of 22 and 35.  The ability to retain, and in point of fact access the talents of older workers is an enterprise Must!


Declining Employee Engagement


Worldwide those who would state they are “highly” committed to their companies is 21%.

The question for all companies is can an enterprise grow and sustain its business case if only 21% of its employee population is highly committed.  If the obvious answer is NO, why do companies continue to appear to take their employees for granted?.  nGenera research would also indicate that during this recession we can anticipate an even further decline in employee engagement.


Development of Talent


The first expense cut in any recession is usually Training.  What nGenera research suggests is that these cuts come at a time when investments are called for in all domains.  Our leaders for the most part have developed themselves.  This is a phenomenon of the Boomer and Older Generation X age cohorts and one that will be intolerable for the Generation Y incumbents.

One can quarrel with the bluntness of this statement but nGenera research supports this point of view.


The rain of the Perfect Storm will impact this area as well as a.) the demands on leaders are becoming more complex necessitating a renewed commitment to development, b.) the aspirations of Generation Y have as a core-expectation enterprise commitment to their development, c.) the paradigm shift that suggests that the enterprises now have to perceive themselves to be in the Education domain as Academia endeavors will not be sufficient.


Motivation of the New Workforce

The most generous interpretation of of the current portfolio of motivational vehicles is they are insufficient based on the emerging Demographic trends.  The demands of the new workforce will compel both practice and program modifications to human resources services. 


nGenera research Health Care insurance is a dominant desire for all employees, economic recognition for high performance is no longer a aspiration  it is a demand, the usefulness of long term incentives for Generation Y is questionable given what they initially see as tenure expectations, and all age cohorts are desirous of flexible time arrangements with their employers.


The Optimum Culture

When the Culture of an enterprise is an  outcome lacking foresight  there is risk.  The unplanned therefore uncontrolled evolution of cultural vagaries may  result in optimal conditions, but just as easily create  a situation that is not conducive to enterprise values nor strategic mission.


Over the decades much has been written of, and spoken about culture, its importance,  intrinsic value, and strategic necessity yet the ability to influence, truly influence a culture remains elusive.


nGenera Research on Top 10 Management Challenges for the New Workforce


1.      Replenishment and Deployment – The ability to attract and retain sufficient numbers of skilled employees throughout  the Enterprise.  For many companies this will be a daunting task.  A case in point is Essar which has grown from 20,000 to 60,000 in 3 years!  55% of their employees have less than 2 years of tenure.





2.      Multi-Generational Value Proposition-For the first time, commerce now has 4 separate and distinct age cohorts coexisting within an enterprise. It would be intellectually dishonest and moreover a risk to assume that a “One Size Fits All” human capital posture is feasible. For example the constitution of the GAP has 157,000 employees the vast majority of whom are Generation Y yet their leaders are predominately Gen X and Boomers.  To be successful, the GAP must address the needs of its Customer and Employee base simultaneously.


3.      Robust Leadership Pipeline-The ability of an organization to assume “if cream does not rise to the top on its own we will buy more cream” is unworkable in the new Talent marketplace.  The  smaller numbers of Generation X managers when combined with aspiration levels that are substantively different than Boomers and Millenials will represent a compelling challenge.  The abdication of an organization in favor of predominantly self-directed leadership will likely be a self defeating response.  As would be the ignoring the Retention potential Development has for Boomers and affiliation quid pro quo of Generation Y incumbents.


4.      Critical Success Factor Reconstitution – The French were embarrassed during World War II when the Germans ignored the Maginot line.  A possibly overly dramatic analogy: but what nGenera research suggests is that the Competencies we currently assess, and periodically develop for, have been deemed suboptimal for the new Talent marketplace.  Noteworthy deficiencies are truly Global Orientation complete with cultural awareness and linguistic abilities, a Strategic Mindset that can identify the “next big trend”, Collaborative Behavior that is inherently persuasive vs. a “follow me model”, and Staff Development abilities that are Sensei in vs. Supervisory positional in orientation.


5.      Knowledge Management Mindset and Tools-Despite the existence of institutional memory preservation tools, the discipline and mindset to use them are lacking in most enterprises. This deficiency will be exacerbated by the restructuring aligned with the current recession and will be dramatically compounded by the imminent retirement of Traditionalists and Boomers.


6.      Reward Misalignment – The current focus of Total Rewards Design on Regulatory Compliance and Philosophy of Compensation being plotted between  Market Average and 75th percentile is emerging as problematic.  An enterprises inability to recognize that Long Term Incentive 5 year vesting is a disincentive for Generation Y, that High Performance employees know who they are and eventually feel marginalized by similar recognition as their less performing peers, that the tolerance of Compression with the hope that it will be a “secret” is insulting, and that there are those who would gladly forgo monies in favor of generous Health Care or a Flexible work schedule, will present  significant barriers in the future.


7.      Retention on Boomers-The undeniable truth is that there are more Boomers than there are Generation X workers Practices that suggest an employee should be thought of as being on the downward side of an Employment Curve at age 55 or even 65 is to ignore the demographic reality and opportunity prevalent in the sustainment of these incumbents.   nGenera research indicates that despite this intellectual awareness the progressiveness of practices to preserve this talent pool and candidly does not rise much above happy talk.


8.      Attraction and Retention of Generation Y-The point of view that “given time they will think just like me” has its limitations.  nGenera research suggests a more appropriate approach is to embrace the differences endemic to this cohort and create programs that are respectful, motivational, and flexible.  nGenera research indicates that there are many companies that are creating innovative approaches to attract and retain Generation Y’s as they recognize that a “one size fit’s all” approach is self defeating.


9.      Employee Engagement Improvement– Of paramount importance in the emerging Talent Marketplace is the improvement of Employee Engagement, a task made more difficult during recessionary times.  nGenera research indicates that Engagement goes well beyond the efficacy of Human Resources programs.  Our research suggests what appears to be lacking is awareness of the differences in aspirations and elements of the value proposition that are truly motivational.  Even sadder, our research indicates that there is a perceived lack of respect for an employee as an individual in many companies.  As the recession dissipates if there is no proactively to address this situation, the opportunities prevalent in the marketplace will create the phenomenon of “it is not that I am not working, or not working hard, it is I am not working for you”.


10.      Capability on Demand – the emerging Talent Marketplace will soon move beyond Job descriptions, Career Stages, and Alternative Sourcing.  Alternatively nGenera research indicates that the definition of “work” will be reinvented and so will the definition of “worker”.  The nGenera point of view is that the new model will be Talent Capability on Demand supported by sophisticated Collaborative Tools and Technology Platforms.  The reality that we see as imminent is the strategic use of employees, contractors, aligned SME’s (i.e. thought leaders, retirees who possess a certain skill), vendors, and the world at large as accessed by the Internet will become the Future State Employee


We are entering a new and exceiting period in Human Capital management requiring new mental models and innovative programs to promote Enterprise success.



One Response

  1. If you ever want to read a reader’s feedback 🙂 , I rate this post for 4/5. Detailed info, but I have to go to that damn yahoo to find the missed bits. Thanks, anyway!

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