Prioritizing Talent Management during the Pandemic


A company’s long-term success leans heavily on the strategies and vision the management has for the future. Development and nurturing of this talent from within the organization, evaluating their performance, and providing a clear direction for their career is an important aspect of that strategy is what sets leading businesses of the world apart from the rest. However, this process has become difficult in the current market ridden by the pandemic, evidently. This is not exactly a new problem. In 2017, a survey by the Duke University interviewed 850 CFOs in the US. The study revealed that 89% CFOs believed they cannot implement several long-term strategies they had in the pipeline because they were unable to attract and retain the right managerial talent. We can but guess this issue has only worsened during the pandemic. This has caused them to pull back various planned expansions.


The pandemic at one point had forced us to re-skill our employees to diminish the skills gap we possessed. But this was found to be complex because of the added layer of virtual/remote working or working from home. At the current juncture, we realize that learning and development is not just a “perk” that the employee is entitled to for their personal growth, but also an effective strategy for scaling your business in the coming future and an ever-changing business environment.


Mckinsey & Co. in their November 2020 report suggests that Chief HR Officers (CHROs) play a significant role in reimagining company best practices to building resilience and drive value. To start building the next generation of leaders and policy-makers, CHROs must take steps to align corporate culture with integrated talent development. 5 key areas have been identified by the Mckinsey report, on which CHROs must find a strong and durable strategy for the post-pandemic market.


1.  Finding and Hiring the Right People:

Several organizations have already made away with on-campus/face-to-face interviews in a hiring process with the success that has been found through virtual spaces. Following the same line of thought, CHROs must find fresh perspectives of looking at the hiring process to find the best-suited talent for the company vision. Hence, effective and efficient hiring continues to be necessary even in the current dwindling market.


2.  Learning and Growing:

Reskilling plays a major role in helping a company close talent gaps. CHROs must consider this along with the large-scale transformation of the workforce which was catalyzed by the public health crisis. A post-pandemic learning and development agenda, hence, extends beyond basic re-skilling into three categories of cost-effective training.


•  Broad-based digital training in essential skills

•  Focused upskilling rooted in changing work

•  Leadership development


3.  Managing and Rewarding Performance:

Performance management and evaluation methods have been going through a process of rethinking and re-fitting for the changing times long before the pandemic became a global phenomenon. The crisis has just accelerated the change which has had a dramatic effect on goals and plans. Furthermore, this shift has also caused the remote staff to heavily depend on performance management for feedback. CHROs must, therefore:


•   Transparently link employee goals to business priorities and maintain a strong element of flexibility.

•   Invest in managers’ coaching skills.

•   Keep ratings for the very highest—and lowest—performers but also celebrate the broad range of good performance.


4. Tailoring the Employee Experience:

A side effect that came out of remote working is the blurred line between work and life. In such a stage, employee experience has become much more momentous. Here CHROs have to establish a framework that will increase engagement and inclusion of all employees. The framework must be based on what kind of talent is needed, which roles are important, the degree of collaboration that is necessary, and the physical location of offices today. HR departments have to, additionally, come to a consensus on the range of analytical tools they utilize for connectivity and engagement from social networking to mobile text platforms.


5.  Optimizing Workforce Planning and Strategy:

In a post-covid market, there may be shifts in how value is created. This means that there will also be a change in the required talent, as well. These are components of planning and strategy that CHROs will have to focus on:

a) Critical Roles: Research shows that a small number of roles will be more important than others for delivering business-value agenda. Identify them in your company and for each of them, recognize core responsibilities that has to be taken care of, qualities needed for the manager, and whether that role is set up for success.


b) Skill Pools: Take a hard look at the skill pool they possess and take note of whether they are required for future of the company. Understand whether they are long or short of the required talent.

Talent Systems: CHROs have access to a large number of workforce planning tools at their disposal that help them match people to jobs. Such tools will become increasingly handy in facing the challenges ahead.