In many industries and companies the way people work is changing more radically than ever before. Flexible work, home office, trust-based working hours and collaboration in virtual teams in different countries characterize the work of many knowledge workers. Companies are abolishing hierarchies, increasingly relying on agile, self-organized teams, circles, cells and projects, mostly for fixed terms. Roles and tasks are changing. The classic linear career path is less common today than it was just a few years ago, quite simply because there are often fewer formal management positions to fill. Furthermore, many people no longer pursue a vertical career. Instead, companies need to consider what horizontal career paths might look like — and how people can still develop, including financially.
Digitalization, globalization, demographic change and a different way of conveying and absorbing knowledge are further megatrends that force companies to adapt if they want to remain viable. These adjustments are enormous because they make great demands on organizations and the people who shape them. Much of what we are used to will change; we will have to find and pursue completely new paths. Classic talent management is therefore reaching its limits. When teams work in a self-organized manner without formal team leadership, when roles change frequently and people acquire knowledge outside of formal training, a rigid talent management system is unable to support these processes.
Talent management therefore calls for a new approach that focuses on the challenges described above. We have extensively examined the question of what talent management requires and means with regard to the five megatrends. In the process, we identified seven drivers for a new talent management for agile organizations:
In all seven areas, we observe a shift away from classic, purely business-driven approaches that involve a top-down relationship, towards an understanding of talent that puts people at the center. The people in the company form the core around which everything revolves. We take it one step further and say: It is the teams that shape a company. The focus is on team management and the question of what makes a team successful. Nobody can centrally control an agile organization as a network of agile teams. That's why talent management is effectively the wrong term. We speak of empowerment — of each individual and the individual teams.
The objective is to support and empower people to fulfill their tasks and to align themselves as a team towards the goals they have set themselves. The focus is on fulfillment and alignment. In other words: on team empowerment.