What are the latest trends for building a strong talent pipeline? Sage Ways consultant, Tom Melberg reports his findings from The Conference Board’s recent Succession Management Conference in New York City – where some of the largest blue-chip companies shared their innovative practices. A number of key trends were highlighted including: an increased focus on people and culture, the changing workforce and resulting need for increased flexibility, and finally the future-skilling of talent.

What is future-skilling? Rapid changes in business also require different and new talent solutions and skill sets from employees. How can organizations align people ecosystems with strategic and operational business plans for the future? Companies can mitigate the challenges of talent shortages by investing in rigorous future-skilling and leveraging their talent for maximum agility. But for such efforts to be effective and sustainable, they must be intertwined with the organization’s goals on an ongoing basis.

HR can play a vital role in helping organizations build the capabilities needed for future success by looking at talent and learning systems holistically and tying future-skilling programs to overall organizational strategies and goals. They can build future capabilities by using the people ecosystem, which includes aligning talent structures to business goals, a robust talent execution plan that includes career development, and strategic talent development with a focus on learner experiences.

Increased focus on people and culture. This is a strong trend we are already seeing with our clients at Sage Ways and it was confirmed as a broad-scale trend at the conference. There is incredible capital in getting people together and moving from an ‘I’ culture to a ‘We’ culture. It’s about creating a culture where we have each other’s back. Building and demonstrating inclusion into the culture can lead to a stronger collective and collaborative mindset that can shift your company’s succession planning in positive ways.

Retaining the changing workforce. Millennials will make up 75% of the workforce by 2025. How are we creating a culture that will retain them in a predicted tighter job market? Understanding millennials in the workforce can lead to greater retention and includes the need to offer more flexibility. The importance of supporting work-life issues, especially for the millennials, is about going deeper and creating flexible programs like taking time off to train for a triathlon or assisting new mothers in getting breast milk to their newborns while away on company travel. Finding out what your workforce wants and creatively giving it to them is key to high retention because millennial retention is tied to their ability to work flexibly.

How are these trends impacting your organization? We’d love to hear from you.