By John Arenas | April 2, 2014

Attracting & Cultivating 21st Century Talent

A major new study from Deloitte on trends shaping human capital highlights workplace flexibility.

Over the years, companies have begun to realize that their total value isn’t found solely in the product or service they provide. Real capital and steady ROI is cultivated from within. As corporations begin to rely more and more on the quality and performance of their employees, the workplace has become an environment that leads to stress and sometimes failure instead of productivity and continued success.

In early March, Deloitte University released the results of a survey that interviewed more than 2,500 organizations in 90+ countries about potential challenges and opportunities for growth in 2014.

Overall, the Global Human Capital Trends 2014 study revealed, “Critical new skills are scarce—and their uneven distribution around the world is forcing companies to develop innovative new ways to find people, develop capabilities, and share expertise.” Specifically, researchers identified 12 trends that will drive the human capital agenda in coming years. Two of these trends focus on a more flexible, evolving workplace.

Performance Reviews for Better Performance

The first involves structural performances reviews, an area that has been begging for change since it was instituted at the beginning of the 20th century. In 2014, and in the coming years, professionals can look forward to saying goodbye to standardized yearly performance reviews and welcome ongoing coaching and development strategies with open arms. Since knowledge-based careers have taken precedence in the corporate world, companies are beginning to understand that developing such skill sets require time and training.

Moreover, if companies want to leverage a strong set of passionate employees—not just workers—management needs to transition from inflexible “rank and yank” techniques to a more hands-on, adaptive approach.

Focus and Flexibility

The Internet and the tools invented to utilize it were intended to make life easier, to streamline information so users could gain access at all times. Instead, technology has completely overwhelmed us to the point where it’s actually harming us in various ways. Again, looking into the recent past, there was a time in which employees who couldn’t manage their time were advised to solve the problem themselves, or possibly enroll in a time management course.

Looking ahead, top management is realizing that the problem isn’t always the employees themselves; it’s the structure of limitless information and constant stimulation. How is one expected to focus and get the job done quickly when their email box is overflowing and their phone never stops chiming? Global companies suffer even more because communication never sleeps. Nevertheless, corporate innovators are coming up with solutions to lend a hand to their employees and help them prioritize tasks and streamline information.

Adopting a flexible work environment will help companies make these trends a reality. Flexibility doesn’t only mean allowing employees to work from home. It means widening or even breaking down the walls of traditional workplace structure. While certain trends from the past seemed like a lifesaver at the time, businesses are changing faster than we can process and it’s time to evolve our practices.

If you’re trying to keep your level of connectedness in check, be sure to read “Your Smartphone is Killing Your Productivity” for more advice on creating a healthy balance between technology and efficiency.

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