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HR and talent trends in the year ahead

David Holloway

Going into the new year, the market outlook remains positive on the need for talent, particularly with regards to new talent in digital, marketing and regulatory environments. Clients are keen to engage strategic talent pipelining exercises which at this stage shows their approach to 2019. Article by David Holloway, CEO – Marlin Hawk.

 Women on the boards
“We are seeing boards from all sectors tackle this fairly evenly, however Financial Services in particular still has a way to go. Ultimately real investment in carefully architected diversity programme is required and right now is lacking. Some of the strategies are quite short-term and tactically focused –  much like in politics, you need long term plans that may take a generation to realise.

Some of these short-term strategies can feel reactionary and a box ticking exercise – we have had searches when senior female executives have asked us “have I been approached” because I am a woman. Searches focused on diversity only as opposed to the best-qualified candidate are risky – candidates want to feel they deserve recognition as opposed to qualifying via birth.

So in 2019 I would like to see more programmes focus as much on the intake level and be delivered throughout the organisation via talent management programmes at all levels over many years. This will increase the supply of qualified, diverse talent rather than chase a finite pool for the sake of experience.

This is a big investment and would need the backing of investors/shareholders, the public and the CEO. In reality, both approaches are required to ensure today’s diverse talent is being recognised fairly as well.

 Talent management
The importance, and more importantly, the influence that these functions now have has multiplied over the past ten years and we will see more companies move to have HR representation on their boards in 2019. The functions have grown in quality and capability and can now work hand in glove with external partners to ensure the right results when hiring critical senior leaders.

Culture plays a massive role in achieving growth as retention is as critical to growth as recruitment. Opportunity is what attracts talented people – you need opportunity and culture to retain talent. Without retention, growth will be severely impacted.

Going into 2019, we will see companies with HR & talent management represented  on their boards, create better cultures and therefore realise stronger revenue growth”.

Impact of AI on all aspects of the employment cycle
Efficient AI technologies are arriving in the employment cycle, but despite the buzz, it will be many years before that have a dramatic impact on hiring senior leaders. People like authentic human responses and they will always be needed; empathy is impossible to recreate if it isn’t spontaneous.

AI can make the process more efficient, it can, in time do necessary assessment and selection and it should be implemented there to allow people to engage on more uplifting and valuable activities. But don’t expect senior management to be chosen by AI in 2019.

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