Ep 2 | Decoding Future Leadership |The Talent Economy | Fisher Leadership

Ep 2 | Decoding Future Leadership |The Talent Economy

EPISODE 2: The Talent Economy

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We now live in a world where talent is rarer than capital. Decoding Future Leadership is an audio-visual podcast breaking open the capabilities, technologies, growth strategies and mental fitness required to lead our future working world. This week, Pip Youngman – Advisory Chair, Australia & New Zealand for PeopleStrong, interviews Sandeep Chaudhary, Global CEO of PeopleStrong.

While companies of all sizes are struggling to keep and find people during the disruption caused by the pandemic, it’s more important than ever for leaders to identify and prioritise exactly which talent they’re lacking, and to recognise and harness latent talent within their organisations. The HBR says surveys conducted by AchieveNEXT in August and again in September, show middle-market CFOs and CHROs acknowledging that attracting and retaining talent is their number-one challenge — cited three times more often than supply-chain disruptions and nearly four times more often than costs. Worse, nearly half (47%) said that their enterprise lacks the tools to address their talent-retention problems. Part of what the pandemic has revealed is the lack of mechanisms our businesses have in place to identify transferable skills to transition people through an engaging career pathway.

Sandeep Chaudhary speaks with a light in his eyes about the technology revolution taking place in our businesses, education sector, and society. He says, “I wanted to be a part of business transformation. So I reinvented myself, just as many organisations and economies have, around the limitlessness technology is gifting to the world.”

Reflecting on what the global pandemic has done for CEO leadership, Sandeep notes that we are living in the midst of a once in a generation opportunity to evolve the nature and impact of the role of a leader. There is a precarious balance between employee wellbeing and the potential of innovation, between lives and livelihoods, and being able to look at the crisis as an opportunity while acknowledging the challenges we face. Sandeep says the mindset of successful leaders right now is asking “What is our unique competitive advantage here?”.

Much of the conversation around talent and the intergenerational shifts at play point to purpose as being the most important and energising statement of any company. Sandeep says, “I believe every thriving business has had to go back to their purpose and reconnect with the way they create value.” This is the most successful way to stay relevant and stay connected, not just with employees but with suppliers, customers, and all stakeholders. Infrastructure suddenly became less about physical buildings, but a technology infrastructure, underpinning our communications and our ability to align strategy, operations, processes and systems back to purpose.

When leading his company forward into the unknown, Sandeep asks himself these questions:

  • Is this right?
  • Is this what an employee prefers?
  • Is this remaining true to our purpose?
  • Is this helping me deliver more to my client?
  • Is this helping me deliver more for my business?

“If the answer to all these questions is yes. And if legislation or policy is the only thing I don’t have an answer for, then I should go and find an answer!”

PeopleStrong seeks to bring joy, energy and meaning to work. Against a backdrop of 2 million client employees across 400 clients in the Asia Pacific region, PeopleStrong is leveraging technology to bring a broader human and emotional element to decision making throughout organisations. Sound like a contradiction in terms? It’s not.

Organisations need to create a seamless way to be connected remotely where there is no loss of communication, collaboration or innovation. Because factors like innovation come out of unstructured, spontaneous, ’felt’ moments in our lives, this is proving to be a massive loss when we think about continuing on a trajectory that is 100% remote. Many leaders are facing both massive losses in productivity and performance, and perhaps an even greater deficit, loss of trust and control.

“Almost every business that I’ve seen over the last 24 months had over-invested in technology only to realise that not very much of that is very functional for the new way of work.”

But Sandeep thinks the loss of control is where things really get exciting. He says “I’m less fearful today of the unknown than 24 months ago.” For the first time, as a leader, a lack of strategy became really important! Throwing 10 ideas at the wall in the morning and hoping some would stick during the day became a new, agile model of survival leadership. CEO’s no longer needed to have all the answers – no one did. Everyone just needed to come together and solve as best they could. Sandeep says “Eight months after the first lockdown, we saw many companies in our ecosystem emerged leaner, stronger, with a more compelling value proposition. These companies reinvented for the long term. Other companies, similar in every other way, only solved for the near term, and they are still struggling.”

The Great Resignation is a reality check that the downturn is to be managed for the long term, not just the near term. Consistency of messaging throughout Executive Teams and an ability to let go of hoping to return to the pre-pandemic world will be essential. The pandemic is an opportunity to re-evaluate the notion of work, an opportunity to reengage ourselves in work in a meaningful way. People have taken the time to think more deeply about connecting their work with a deeper purpose.

Due to this re-evaluation, we are seeing non-full-time employment raise the bar on talent, on productivity and on financial efficiency. Sandeep says the future of work requires us to innovate technology to manage the crowd-sourced, diverse workforce. Proudly, he notes that PeopleStrong are the first ones to offer such new payroll technology to clients. “We were able to do this because we were passionate about solving our own problems first”.

Sandeep says technology needs to deliver three key components to any organisation in order to be a value add:

1) Customer experience

2) Data-driven decision-making processes

3) Employee empowerment

In closing, Sandeep cautions that technology can be used for control, or for accountability and governance. The choice, he says, will be made by the leader, but the impact will be felt by the world.

The PeopleStrong Talent Operating System is an AI-powered integrated talent management platform that helps organisations recruit, mentor, retain, and engage their future-ready workforce. It takes disparate and distributed data points illustrating the lifecycle of an individual and offers insights for career decisions moving forward.

Decoding Future Leadership is a collaboration between PeopleStrong, APAC’s Customer’s Choice for HR Tech, and Fisher Leadership. Each episode addresses the challenges of a hybrid workforce, with a blend of human capability and HR technology solutions. Reach out to learn more: djenkinson@fisherleadership.com