Talent Management for Blended and Remote Teams: 4 Keys to Success
Managing talent is a different ball game given today’s realities. Workforces have had to radically adjust how and where they work - without disrupting normal workflows. Whether on-site or remote or both, teams have had to keep going, keep collaborating, communicating, achieving their goals, maintaining performance, and growing into the new challenges expected of them. And most organizations have achieved unprecedented transformation in these unprecedented times — with the help of hands-on managers, committed HR departments, and the digital tools that made it work.
The silver lining of all this is that talent management is now having a Renaissance. It’s become unquestionably the key factor in employee success. And without question, it’s the managers who are the heroes — leading their teams through crises, pivoting and flexing. The ones equipped with Cloud-based digital platforms were ahead of the game, to be sure. But we saw a lot of organizations jump on that bandwagon and catch up fast.
While some of the challenges we’re facing certainly aren’t over, many workplaces are recovering from the crisis and scaling their operations. Employees are looking to be able to keep their momentum and continue to work via approaches that best enable high performance. They want to not just return to work, but also look forward: to develop their skills and excel at their roles. Managers are going to be doing a lot of tending — as it should be.
This is a new breed of talent management, empowered by a digital platform that makes for agile, powerful capabilities. And as you’re considering your own talent management — how to optimize, maximize, and update it to better empower your managers, consider these 4 pillars:
- Goal Setting
- Learning & Development
Each plays a vital role in bringing out the best in your employees; together they create an incredible foundation for engagement and alignment. Let’s take a closer look:
Performance management tools can do a lot more than simply gauge accomplishments. They can create a whole culture of feedback built on a cadence of measurements and conversations between employees and managers. Scheduling and structure can help bring constructive collaboration to discussions, and help managers and employees alike focus on shared objectives. A digital platform and a central hub can track an employee’s performance over time and note the highs and lows, and compare performance across groups, from teams to the whole workforce.
The key here is engagement: there’s a well documented correlation between engagement and performance. In certain industries, such as professional service organizations, business success may depend on employees who are engaged in their work — they are the ones who interact directly with clients and customers. Performance management should be seen as a modern way to increase engagement — with measurements, conversations, pulse surveys and feedback, reviews, and actions.
There’s a great definition of goal-setting that’s tucked into a lexicon of job description terms by Vanderbilt University. It encompasses the manager-employee dynamic at its best, and speaks to the power of aligning around shared objectives in an engaged workplace: “Deciding on goals together through a process that may include identifying needs, prioritizing, listening, observation, assessing, and evaluating data.”
So many managers and employees have experienced a profound shift in how they work — often out of necessity. Remote teams have had to come together around digital workspaces and keep themselves as well as each other performing despite disruptions and challenges. On-site teams faced increasing pressures and often needed to collaborate with teams and managers who may be off-site. We can all pat ourselves on the back for making it through — and learning the power of sharing goals. When managers and employees have the tools to decide and establish goals together, it drives accountability, alignment and engagement, and trust.. But that “listening” component also relates to each individual manager’s goals for their teams and each employee; and each individual employee’s goals for themselves. Here’s where a digital platform can help track and demonstrate progress towards those goals in real-time, and really make a difference.
Learning & Development
Research by Gartner found that 58% of the workforce will need new skills to do their job successfully. As the workplace continues to evolve rapidly, managers need to be able to identify skills gaps and opportunities for more training that can improve employees’ capabilities — as well as solidify continuity and succession planning. We saw the impact of a global health crisis on organizations and workforces — and one effective way to be more prepared for disruptions is to ensure there are qualified people ready to step in and step up.
A learning platform that’s well integrated into your overall HCM will provide managers as well as employees with the overall picture of skills needed. And a full learning and development system should offer plenty of up-to-date features, such as self-service, opt-in, micro-learning, an extensive and expanded course catalog, automated certifications and reporting. Supplementing that with opportunities for mentoring and coaching through the organization creates an overall culture of growth that directly impacts engagement. And makes managers' jobs a lot easier.
The ability to visualize the state of the workforce has never been more important — and managers need a whole range of tools to do it. People data is only as good as how we can gather, aggregate and analyze it; we need to have the means to ask the right questions and get answers in real-time. Whether it’s tracking performance, goals achieved, or employee development, analytics give manager’s a birds-eye view and enable a whole range of factors to come into sharper focus as well.
Managers need accurate ways to make predictions about their people, and see how taking certain actions has an impact. It could just be a matter of tracking a high-value employee’s relative engagement during a particularly stressful period, noting whether it’s increased after feedback and conversations; glean their desire to stay or go. Workforce management can feel like a chess board, but analytics can help anticipate the best strategies going forward. In terms of trust and accountability, a versatile, responsive and well-designed analytics platform can provide managers with tangible information in a clear, visual format: shareable, easy to read, and easy to understand.
More than ever we’ve seen how a robust digital platform can catalyze performance and engagement. But another surprising advantage for workplaces is that by providing transparency, data-driven accountability, and flexible ways to respond to team and employee needs, it also created a powerful culture of trust. As workplaces move into the new normal, that’s going to matter more than ever, particularly between managers and employees. If you have the tools you need to truly oversee, support, assess, and make decisions, it’s an exciting time to be a manager. We’re going to see how this changes the role of managers from overseeing to enabling and empowering — and it’s going to be a key factor in how our workforces evolve.