Mike Zani is the CEO of The Predictive Index and the author of "The Science of Dream Teams"
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Talent optimisation in the hybrid workplace

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Employee experience is becoming ever more important in the new hybrid world of work. Harnessing your people data is essential to ensure your organisation is optimising talent as effectively as possible.

3rd Aug 2021
Mike Zani is the CEO of The Predictive Index and the author of "The Science of Dream Teams"
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HR professionals, hiring managers, and people leaders have spent the last 18 months navigating the uncertainty of a global pandemic, social distancing, and indefinite remote work. Now, even as the rest of the world returns to relative normality, the business world must contend with another unique challenge – the evolving hybrid workplace.

The business world needs talent optimisation practices now more than it realises. 

If we’ve learned anything since last spring, it’s that people are your company’s greatest asset. That was true before, but it was laid bare during the pandemic, when many resource-strapped organisations were forced to do more with less. Many leaned too hard on their talent, asking them to wear too many hats without focusing on the root causes of burnout and discontent. Those companies are now feeling the brunt of what’s been dubbed ‘the great resignation’.

On the flip side, leaders who have prioritised empathy, employee engagement, and an understanding of behavioural data are better positioned to keep their people.

The next step? Making sure those people are not only engaged, but inspired, because they’re essential to creating cohesive, super-productive teams. That’s the essence of talent optimisation.

Why leaders need talent optimisation now

The business world needs talent optimisation practices now more than it realises. Leaders especially need to understand what drives people problems like disengagement and burnout as we navigate hybrid work environments. In doing so, we look to leaders who can balance behavioural data with workplace diversity.

A recent Accenture report confirmed that 83% of surveyed workers prefer to operate in a flexible model moving forward – i.e. one that allows them to work remotely at least 25% of the time. The same study found that 63% of high-growth companies are set up for hybrid operation, while the majority (69%) of ‘no-growth’ businesses are still concerned with where people will work.

The upshot is clear: flexibility fosters growth. Talent optimisation affords flexibility by aligning business and people strategies. It’s a practice built on the principle of meeting people where they are or, as it evolves, where they work best.

What talent optimisation looks like in hybrid environments

People data has long been a business leader’s secret weapon, and it’s especially vital now, considering the vast workplace potential talent can yield with the right touch and proper strategy. In the right hands and in the right culture, this science promises to unlock vast potential in the workplace and beyond. After all, we humans represent our own most valuable resource. The more we learn about ourselves – our drivers, our fears, and our deepest needs – the better we can direct our lives. It’s a big deal. Plus, of course, it’s essential for managing our enterprises.

After all, talent likely represents more than 50% of your income statement. Whether you’re conducting interviews over Zoom, or still struggling with remote onboarding, the implications for understanding that talent are massive.

Culture Pioneers link

Why managers benefit most from this data

Behavioural data promotes awareness at the individual, team, and organisational levels. As those levels take on less traditional forms, managers need all the insights they can gather to stave off the forces of disengagement. That means knowing:

  • Who your more extraverted employees are
  • Who needs more details and resources shared in advance
  • What communication channels and forums people favor most

Maybe you’re finding that your remote team meetings are far more productive when people have an agenda and a Miro board in front of them beforehand. Or you know that your more extraverted people need the opening 15 minutes to recap their weekends. Managers, for better or worse, are at the nexus of awareness and engagement.

Why companies who ignore these practices risk obsolescence

Whether you’re exploring hybrid work or remaining on-site for the foreseeable future, you can’t afford standing still. Leaders must consider the wide variance in how their people will adjust to these new rhythms. If you’re utilising behavioural data – promoting awareness in yourself as a leader, and throughout the organisation – you’ll foster trust.

Trust, similar to grit, is an essential team-building ingredient that’s almost impossible to quantify. It’s intertwined with the science that informs the talent optimisation discipline, offering invaluable insights for any leadership team that could better understand and maximise the potential of its people.

With burnout and disengagement on the rise, and more employees realising they’d rather quit than suffer ill-fitting jobs, that applies to just about every leadership team.

Interested in this topic? Read How to design a hybrid working model that overcomes common fatigue factors.

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