On incremental basis, disruptions in workplace balance by digital technology is tasking human resources (HR) units in their role of hiring and retaining talents in organisations, experts have said.
The experts note that with a young growing population, there is an adequate supply of labour, but the issue is the specific talent that organisations require, pointing out that in an environment where 11 percent of people with high skills immigrate every year, retaining those people is critical.
“What is much more important is not to pick fruits from other people but to plant seeds today in your organizations to build your talents internally,” said the experts who spoke at a Webinar hosted by Emeritus with the theme, ‘The Evolving Role of HR to Drive Talent Sustainability in a Digital World’.
Emeritus is an organization that provides access to high-quality education. Aderonke Adebule, the organisation’s representative in Nigeria, explained in her opening remarks that Emeritus provides access to quality education through partnerships with top-tier universities.
Some of the universities, according to her, are Harvard, Stanford, MIT, London Business School, and Colombia University. She explained further that the partnerships were aimed to research and deliver world-class learning that results in professional certification.
Giving insights on the evolving role of HR in talents sustainability, Nick Holley, a thought leader and former visiting professor, Henley Business School & London Business School, said that the question to ask was why organizations retain talents.
“Talented people have choice and we need to recognize that. In the past generations, people were loyal to the companies they worked for and these companies in return made the employees have their jobs for long,” Holley said, adding however that now, most employees are no longer loyal to their employers.
To retain their talents, Holley advised that organizations need to think about strategic workforce planning which means understanding what the organisations need in the future in terms of talent; what they currently have, what the external demographic marketplace looks like, and what the gap is.
On his part, Adewunmi Oluremi, Group Head of Learning and Development at Sterling Bank, noted that there is no best practice as regards talent management, explaining that an organisation’s strategy is relevant to its context, environment and demographic.
“Sterling Bank has been in existence for a while. We have gone into successful mergers, which is quite remarkable. The success of these mergers has been tied to the passion of these people and the understanding that employees are the best resource we have as an organization,” he said.
Continuing, he advised, “your strategy must be tied to your organisation’s strategy. Four years ago, we decided that our strategic pillars would be based on agility, digitalization and specialization and, because of this, our talent management strategies were derived from these pillars.”
Oluremi recalled how the bank decided to develop its employees for the future, not knowing that the pandemic was coming to be a disruption globally. “We just looked at what was happening globally and decided that we were going to develop our employees and all our strategies as a human capital division would be on creating the employee that will be fit for now and the future,” he said.
On whether financial benefits have any role to play in talent retention and sustainability, Holley said that organizations should do well to pay them enough but when money doesn’t matter and they want to retain the talents, they should link them to the purpose, give them a chance to grow, and let them get on with their jobs.
He explained that the key thing is that organizations need to pay people enough money to take money out of the question. “If we don’t pay people enough money, they will leave. But if you look at all the researches, especially by Daniel Pink, what it shows is that money does not motivate people to perform and I think we need to pay enough money to retain talents,” he said.
But beyond that, he added, “we need to provide a proposition that has three key elements to retain them, people need a purpose and I think in a growing country like Nigeria, the purpose is to provide the lubrication to enable businesses to prosper and grow to provide jobs. So, I think we need to connect people to the purpose.”
According to him, another thing that motivates people is mastery, pointing out that “people are motivated when you are investing in them for their personal development; you then became a talent magnet.”
Moonlighting is a common practice in many workplaces today. It is a situation whereby talents have two more other jobs apart from their primary job and this is because of the flexibility of the working arrangement.
Holley advised that where such a situation arises, management has to ask why they are doing such because “if we are paying them enough money and giving them growth, why would they be moonlighting? We need not blame them but understand why they are doing it; in some ways maybe it’s beneficial,” he argued.
“What I am saying, increasingly, is that organizations don’t expect to employ someone 100 percent of their time; maybe the offer of the job is taking 50 percent of their time and they are doing other things where they are building skills and other experience. The key thing is that we need to understand why they are doing that and not blame them or punish them,” he said.