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Rethinking Talent in a Reemerging World

Gina Brummels, Sr. Director Learning, Talent, & Change, Ardent Mills

Gina Brummels is the Sr. Director of Talent, Learning, and Change for Ardent Mills, the premier flour and ingredient company. She has worked in the Learning and Talent space for over 15 years with a focus on leading talent management, talent acquisition, change management, learning functions, instructional design, and program management. She has a broad range of project experience and knowledge in multiple areas of business including Healthcare, Manufacturing, and Finance Institutions. Her goal is to focus on developing high _ performing employees utilizing the talent and learning best practices. She believes that your passion comes through when you find something you love, and currently loves being in a role that is growing a culture of development – helping to make a difference in Ardent Mills team members’ lives.

If 2020 taught us anything in the Talent Management space, it’s that whatever reemerges after the pandemic will not look like what it did before. Our eyes are wide open to a new world of what talent will look like moving forward. And as we lean in to support people, who are at the center of all we do, we need to think about what they need and how we capitalize on the new energy. A few areas we see as critical for Talent Management in the reemerging world are hiring from wherever, retaining talent, and data and analytics.

Hiring without Boundaries

It’s no surprise that the limits around finding the right talent in the right location have shifted and, in some cases, disappeared. Organizations have changed from making hiring decisions solely around the immediate location to expanding and honing in on the people and skills that are needed, wherever they may be. This focused, intentional energy is helping us to prepare leaders to think about how we can attract, hire, and develop, the rights skills to move their organizations forward.

It will become critical for HR to think about how we can build, support, and improve virtual working and support internal mobility.

Although this is a great opportunity for companies, it will not come without its challenges. It requires a different effort and style to keep employees engaged, excited, and motivated when we don’t have an opportunity to interact with them face to face on a regular basis. As talent professionals, we need to equip managers with tools on how to fill the gap of day-to-day interaction to keep engagement high. So now that we have this larger pool of untapped potential, how do we make sure they remain engaged and ultimately retain them?

Engaging & Inspiring

Providing transparency, access, an understanding of the path to growth, and ensuring employees have ways to grow from within are no longer “nice to have,” but are critical for the retention of employees. The ability to shift to a flexible schedule will reenergize talent and increase engagement, retention, but giving them the ability to grow the skills needed for future work will be the key to keep them committed to their own success in the new world. And, as we increase the retention of our talent, we need to provide them with ways to grow from within. This is where data and analytics play an important role.

Data & AI

As we look to grow talent from wherever they want to be, the use of data and artificial intelligence will become essential to success. For growth and development specifically, the use of technology quickly puts those opportunities at a click reach and allows employees to take ownership of growing skills into their own hands.

Using short-term, stretch assignments, projects, learning all curated just for them, will make “new-skilling” easy. We can’t rely on managers, who now don’t have the drop-in option or in-person connection, to know all the opportunities that are available. There is software available for Talent teams to use that can harness data on employees’ past experiences, career aspirations, what the functions or organization needs for skill growth, and so much more, to push those opportunities to employees. For example, an employee could share that they are looking to live in another county. Their company decides to acquire a new business in that country, HR can proactively know they already have employees that may be willing to move to that country to support the endeavor. Or as mentorships are created, companies can connect those with strong skills in leading virtual teams, with managers who don’t excel in this area. Creating quick access of information to HR to make nimble, proactive decisions to support the business.

"As talent professionals, we need to equip managers with tools on how to fill the gap of day-to-day interaction to keep engagement high"

We can no longer think about creating career paths and development based on one role, we must take an organization-wide perspective in how we grow our talent. This data-driven, AI approach can allow us to spend time focusing on thinking about the ways to grow the skills and measure the change, and let technology elevate our employees’ career experience.

As we look to 2021 and beyond, we should all be excited about the world ahead for our talent. It will take each of us to be willing to embrace change, find ways to live in ambiguity and forget what we thought was good or necessary in the past. It has never been more fun to be in the driver’s seat to help organizations flourish with the best asset, our people. Each of us will reemerge in this new world with eyes open and resiliency we didn’t expect. I do believe the future of work is going to be great, and I for one can’t wait to help shape it.

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