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Outsource magazine: thought-leadership and outsourcing strategy | August 18, 2017

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Outsourcing and planning for unknown demands

Outsourcing and planning for unknown demands
Outsource Magazine

As the future of the UK business environment continues to be the subject of debate, organisations across the globe must look at developing talent for what can only be described as an uncertain future. With the pace of change in the global working environment quicker now than ever before, adapting to this shifting environment is becoming a high priority for businesses worldwide. But is everything really being done to build and develop future talent pipelines?

The daunting challenge for HR at this time is forecasting, attracting and retaining the talent needed for what is ultimately an uncertain future. This subject formed part of the recent Ochre House HR Directors’ Annual Symposium where the speakers and delegates looked at what HR needs to do to face this immense challenge.

A new type of talent

In his presentation, David Stephenson, Head of Learning and Development at Telefónica O2 UK and Ireland, claimed that for HR to deal with and benefit from this fast-moving environment, businesses need to be encouraged to bring on board people who thrive on ambiguity, complexity and uncertainty. Ideally, organisations need a balance between people who fit with the company in its current state, and ‘maverick’ types who bring a new perspective to the table.

However, recruiting this type of skill is understandably going to be difficult. The natural inclination is always to recruit in your own image, so it will be a steep learning curve to recruit a whole new persona. Added to this, these mavericks have a tendency to rapidly move on from organisations that have not created an environment where their attitudes and approaches are recognised and valued.

Attracting and retaining ‘mavericks’

With these barriers making it difficult to attract and retain these mavericks, Stephenson argued that the HR profession will need to take a more relaxed approach and take more risks on people who do not obviously fit with the company’s current state. To do this it will need to be accepted that this approach can lead to a high attrition rate as the value of such people does not lie in their long-term aspirations.  The benefit is more likely to be found in their role as short-term catalysts for change and development.

Stephenson’s methodology is not something many in the HR profession are likely to feel fully confident in implementing, but it is a necessary alteration in this changing economy. The ability to adapt to shifting markets will be crucial in coming years and simply having good people to meet the current demands is no longer enough.

The full analysis of the HR Directors Symposium is available in the Ochre House White Paper ‘Redefining business value through a talent-centric approach’. For a copy of the report please contact Prashanie Dharmadasa:

About the Author

Sue Brooks is Managing Director, Ochre House.

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