By Andy Curlewis, Managing Director – Consulting

The future of work is a hot topic. To better understand how organizations can prepare for what may come, Cielo recently attended and sponsored CXO Innovation’s Chief Transformation Officer Summit. This event, which took place at The Shard in London, featured 18 speakers and 72 attendees – all senior leaders in transformation and customer experience (CX).

Discussions with the transformation leaders revealed that just 21% believe major transformation programs regularly prioritize people, communications, or people workstreams.CXO Innovation Chief Transformation Officer Summit poll

However, in a session, a staggering 51% of attendees said they’re struggling the most with the “people” element of transformations.

This delta perfectly illustrates the vital importance of considering people at every stage of strategic decision-making. Not to mention that company valuations are increasingly weighted toward intangible assets like reputation, brand culture, and people.

Common business scenarios that demonstrate talent’s crucial yet often overlooked role include:

“Let’s move factories or offices to new countries or locations” – but discover after the move that there isn’t the relevant talent locally.

“Let’s digitize the customer experience” – but there isn’t internal digital talent and leaders don’t consider why/how these employees want to work. For example, tech talent doesn’t always want to work for bank or pharma companies in the same way that these businesses expect them to work.

“Let’s acquire a separate business” – but doesn’t deploy the appropriate change management and talent focus, resulting in a culture clash and regretted attrition.

Put simply: if you fail to prioritize the people aspect within change or transformation, business suffers.

To be ready for whatever the future brings, here are six tips transformation leaders have for C-suite leaders when it comes to talent:

  1. Get closer to the customer
    Your business is generally founded on the point where your people and customers come together to produce relevant services/products and great experiences. If you connect well with future-focused functions such as customer experience and transformation and then hire talent that truly understands industry trends and customer sentiment, you’ll maintain business sustainability.

  2. Speak the board’s language
    The pandemic and advancements toward diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) propelled HR’s importance at the board level, but employee-centric thinking can still be more aligned with business opportunity and customer growth. Encourage HR professionals to use the same business language as the board when planning so leaders better understand the value of involving HR in important decision-making.

  3. Go beyond compliance with DEI
    Your customers are likely highly diverse. To delight them, you need to hire the best people from the broadest talent pool that’ll bring different perspectives. It’s also important for your organization to truly embrace DEI. One way to kick-start these changes is to examine the cost, growth, risk, and value associated with your company’s DEI policies.

  4. Measure the value (and value the cost)
    It’s common for businesses to look at the cost of people-related activities from a narrow and short-term perspective. But this distorts their true value and makes it difficult to build a business case for prioritizing people in decisions. Instead, look at situations from a broader, long-term and more sustainable view – making it easier for HR, talent acquisition and transformation leaders to define the true business value of putting employees first.

  5. Make fit for performance
    Elite sports teams use sophisticated data science methodologies to select and train athletes. Similar methodologies apply to the corporate world. To optimize employee and business performance, deploy an assessment framework that truly matches the right candidates to the right environment.

  6. Embrace bottom-up thinking
    Communication and organizational structure are critical. It’s important to think from a bottom-up perspective as well as a top-down view. From frontline staff to middle management, change will flounder without the right engagement and communication. When jobs become so atomized that employees don’t know how they fit into the big picture, they’ll disengage or make short-sighted decisions. The reverse is also true: frontline-tested solutions that aren’t communicated up the chain mean leaders miss opportunities to scale the solutions to other areas.

Your employees are at the heart of any business transformation. Need help identifying and overcoming people-related challenges? Working closely with a strategic TA consultant will help you meet the unique needs to position your company for success – no matter how the future of work unfolds.

A recruiting partnership built on a shared vision for change can transform your talent acquisition and improve results. Connect with us to discuss how to get started.