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Driving Positive Business Results With Total Talent Management

How self-service can bridge the workforce generation gap.

by Mike Smith

There are now four generations in the workforce: traditionalists, baby boomers, generation X, and millennials. While this situation creates inherent talent management challenges, the larger issue remains that the greatest percentage of the workforce, the baby boomers, are exiting the workforce in high numbers.    

The boomers have the most invested in their careers and possess the most experience and knowledge. Having come up through the ranks vying against a large job candidate pool, they are exceedingly competitive. These baby boomers also helped to drive workplace change by questioning the status quo established by traditionalists and defining their personal success through their individual career achievements.

This “me-centric” approach was reinforced by the entry of generation Xers in the workforce. The children of divorce and observers of “Enronitis” are known for their disdain of traditional entities and lack employer loyalty. Following on the heels of these gen-Xers are the millennials, today’s bright recent college graduates who rely heavily on technology and further reject the confines defined by job descriptions.

Added to this new workplace dynamic are the challenges of sourcing and recruiting qualified job candidates and getting the new hires on board quickly so they can be productive as soon as possible. It’s anticipated that fewer college graduates with critical skills will be entering the workforce, so attracting and retaining top-performing employees will remain a prime focus for the foreseeable future. Streamlining talent management methods is becoming increasingly essential to rapidly identifying and attracting the right people.

Keen insight into the current state of the employer-employee relationship and how workers view their job experience is required to find, keep, and motivate employees who can contribute to excellent performance. Savvy employers are already starting to recognize that total talent management is the best way to handle these challenges, and they are rapidly putting automated processes in place to build engaged workforces even before an employee’s first day.

Engaging these future hires through a self-service mode for job evaluation fits well with today’s demands of speed and self control. While taking a long time to develop and settle, the employee self-service model has proven effective for day-to-day employee information needs and transactions. Clearly, the employee portal of today has blossomed into a tool for both the potential new employee and the hiring manager. Even after an employee has separated from an organization, self-service access to retrieve previous W-2s and request routine prior employment details extends the value for all.

Managing total talent flow is crucial to achieving the overall objective of selecting and hiring the best person for the job. For sure, there are many sources of potential employees. From first-level screening to a comprehensive battery of assessments, today’s tools can be leveraged to improve the way pools of potential talent are managed.

Finally, once the offer is made, true paperless forms collected from new hires on their first day can kick off the new job with an effective self-service connection. Further, this day-one process is becoming even more complicated as Congress seems bent on having all employers verify that each new hire is authorized to work  based on an electronic employment verification system.

Starting out new employees with a paperless philosophy from the initial job inquiry to day one on the job and beyond has great benefits and sets the tone for better managed processes through the employee’s lifecycle. And, one of the biggest payoffs is often not considered—employee communication. Every means of communication with potential or active employees makes an impression. These communication impressions represent wonderful opportunities for the HR team to promote the organization’s brand early on in the employee lifecycle. The forthcoming race to find the best employees will most certainly be won by those organizations that take a proactive approach to managing the critical talent acquisition process. In viewing the relationship with an employee as a continuum, organizations can leverage best practices (like self-service) to extend performance before the employee is on the job… and long after they are gone.

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