An uncertain future requires a radical new approach to developing emerging talent

Seven key themes identified as the major challenges in talent development

The current crisis in leadership, record-high staff turnover in the UK, rapid advancements in technology and multiple generations of employees in one workplace, has led to a call for a radically different approach in talent development.

Research and analysis, commissioned by education management firm Ivy House London, reveals both the challenges facing senior HR professionals and potential solutions.

A new whitepaper – “Future Leaders: The Research and the Reality” – identifies seven core themes and the framework to future-proof businesses from the impact of technology, evolving needs of emerging generations and skills. It also provides top tips from the brightest emerging talent on how to keep them engaged, driven and developing – to ensure they reach their potential and fill the future talent pipeline.

“To thrive in an uncertain future we need leaders who embrace change, learn quickly and know how to create courageous and effective teams”, says Elke Edwards, Founder of Ivy House London. “If we want better leaders, we need to turn traditional leadership development on its head delivering it far sooner when it can make the biggest difference and beginning by focusing on the individual first, before the organisation. For the first time ever we have four generations in one workplace.”

Elke Edwards spent 20 years running one of the leading executive development businesses in Europe. She delivered programmes to more than 40% of the FTSE 100, and won 43 awards for work in leadership development, behavioural and performance change.

She says a changing workplace requires a radically new solution for talent development. 

One of the key themes centred around the impact of technology. “Evidence suggests the accelerator has merely been nudged until this point. With the emergence of AI, automation and robotics, the impact of tech on the workplace has only just begun,” the report finds. It will mean different jobs rather than fewer with a clear emphasis on the development of “human skills”.

The whitepaper points to the urgent need for better leadership development. “With 86% of respondents to the WEF’s Global Agenda survey believing there is a global leadership crisis, confidence in leadership is at an all-time low,” the research shows. “What’s more, with only 13% of senior executives having confidence in the rising leaders in their firm and 56% of survey participants forecasting leadership shortages – we need to do something different.”

Another theme reveals that a lack of consensus in defining talent has led to many of the most innovative and smartest young employees being “often not seen” or developed by senior leaders or HR functions.

Researchers for Ivy House London asked talent from across multiple industry sectors about what they want from HR directors. The results included calls for a “more relaxed hierarchy” and “the opportunity to be given a voice”.

Jose, 31, from a digital agency, said: “Companies need to realise that the 6 monthly or annual performance review is dead. We need feedback when the event happens so we can do something about it. Personally, I am fed up with managers who say they don’t have time to give feedback but are actually scared of what they think will be a difficult conversation.”

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