Instrumented Interconnecteds Intelligent

Jonathan Ferrar, VP, Smarter Workforce, IBM

Jonathan Ferrar, VP, Smarter Workforce, IBM

By Jonathan Ferrar

In a world where technology is driving significant change, from the latest smartphone to a computer system that can virtually think on its own, it’s imperative to remember one thing – that people remain the key differentiator in driving business value.

It’s people, talent and their skills that are driving innovation, creativity and pushing the boundaries of business and the world as we know it. The ongoing challenge is identifying, attracting and empowering the key talent, people with the right skills, to drive this value for your organization. How is your hunt for talent going?

Traditionally the challenge of identifying talent has been silo-ed to the Human Resource (HR) professional, but studies now show that executives at all levels, including the CEO, are focused on drawing out the best in their workforces, identifying the right people for the right job while making sure they are a good fit for their culture and goals.SP The Hunt Story Slide April 2013

For example, according to IBM’s CEO Study, CEOs today are focused on three essential imperatives for their business, one of which is empowering employees. The report also reveals that 65 percent of global companies are having problems finding employees with the skills they need. Still, another recent report lists talent shortage as the #2 risk for businesses globally.*

The evidence is clear. The need for superior talent is increasing and organizations across the globe recognize that the best candidates are worth fighting for. The question is, how does an organization attract, retain and empower the right talent for the right position at the right time?

The answer is not as simple as revamping the HR department. It requires fundamentally shifting how you search for and develop talent. Take talent acquisition: gone are the days of static job postings and sifting through stacks of resumes. In an ever increasingly social and digital landscape where potential candidates are active over social networks, tagging their expertise and proactively making connections, a unique combination of social, analytic and talent management tools are required to attract and retain the talent needed to drive value for your organization and build a Smarter Workforce.

Taking advantage of insights gleaned from behavioral studies and social networks, organizations have the opportunity to not only succeed in the hunt for talent but to drive the 21st Century workforce – a workforce that is poised for driving economic value and growth for an organization. Now instead of collecting resumes from hundreds of applicants with one or two targeted skills, the business professional can become far more strategic in attracting and identifying talent with the exact skills that fit an open position. The result is an employee who is more engaged and connected, which drives productivity, creativity and unleashes innovation.

With the right talent, a business can achieve almost anything. Consider an organization like Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. The organization was tasked with hiring more than 350 pharmaceutical research and development professionals fast. But hiring so many highly trained scientists is no easy task. Great scientists are in high demand and tend to stick with the same company to see through completion of particular projects or trials. In order to meet its goal, Regeneron had to rethink its hiring and recruiting processes.

As it did, the company started taking advantage of analytics and cultural insights within Regeneron, itself, to determine common skill sets and traits that they could look for in an applicant. Someone who could help drive value. Identifying skills that included “passion to push the envelope” and “dedication to innovation,” Regeneron was able to target applicants who would thrive in the culture of the company. Matching the skills required with targeted applicants through robust talent management solutions, Regeneron was then able to realize their goal of hiring 350 scientists in a short period of time. It was so successful, the process has helped the company recruit more than 1,000 new employees in subsequent years. This lead to significant business value as well, propelling 10 new drug candidates into clinical trials in record time. With the right people, Regeneron was experiencing exponential growth.

The successful hunt for talent is an ongoing issue. However, with the right combination of insights and tools, organizations can better understand how people work and recognize what makes them good at what they do. While technology will help enhance business, building a Smarter Workforce is imperative to an organization’s growth and competitiveness.

*Lloyd’s Risk Index 2011

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