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HR 2.0: Moves for a Change

24 SEPTEMBER 2016

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Panel Discussion – II

TALENT ACQUISITION

Managing Talent Acquisition in a VUCA Economy

It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage the change - Charles Darwin

Growth, volatility, and the unpredictable nature of today’s business environment has put extreme pressure on TA executives to manage and adapt. Increased competition, a supply & demand imbalance, M&A activity, new business lines, added locations, and changes in strategic direction have all stretched TA teams to the breaking point. How do you creatively grow your capabilities to meet the needs of the business and become more agile?

Unless you have had your head in the sand, you must have noticed the chaotic business and economic conditions under which we currently operate. In fact, the last decade was so chaotic that in its cover story, Time magazine labelled it "the decade from hell". Many in talent management have been hoping that this chaos is a short-term phenomenon, but it is a permanent condition that we must all learn how to manage under.

Because they were designed for more predictable times, almost all current HR, talent management, and workforce planning processes fail to perform in this chaotic environment. In a VUCA environment, there are more changes, a faster rate of change, and the size of the changes are so impactful that they must be labelled as "disruptive." So the question for talent leadership becomes, "how do you effectively hire, develop, place, and retain individuals and leaders in the volatile environment where literally everything changes in months rather than years?"

The concept of operating in a chaotic environment is not new. Tom Peters has been talking about managing under chaos for years, and "decision-making under uncertainty" is a well-established academic field. What is new is that most economic, business, and political leaders have realized that the VUCA environment is a permanent condition.

Business executives have been preparing for the VUCA environment for years. Although most of the initial work was done by the military and in counter-terrorism, VUCA planning has been part of business processes like supply chain and risk management for years. But unfortunately, no one in recruiting, retention, skill development, compensation, performance management, on boarding, etc. has paid more than lip surface attention to this strategic problem. As a result, the time has come to face the fact that you can't be strategic in talent management, HR, or recruiting unless you can manage and thrive in a VUCA environment.

In this panel discussion we’ll hear from TA leaders who have confronted these challenges head on. The panellists would deliberate on