Talent mobility and diversity – the not so odd couple

Employer Branding

21 Feb Talent mobility and diversity – the not so odd couple

Promoting talent mobility and diversity burnishes an organization’s employer branding, by promoting its image as progressive, forward thinking, flexible and innovative.

At first glance, these might seem like an odd couple. Talent mobility is an internal issue, about shifting and switching people within the company both vertically and horizontally. Diversity, by contrast is achieved by a willingness to adopt a broadminded hiring culture.

The moment one goes beyond the first glance, and examines these issues more carefully, one realizes that far from being an odd couple, they actually have much in common.

Both require a willingness to do what does not come naturally. In most organizations, talent moves up a relatively narrow shaft, which means its level of mobility is constricted. Meaningful talent mobility requires a different, less risk averse mindset, which accepts that talent is most effectively utilized when allowed to spread its wings, and not confined to cramped horizons.

Talent mobility only requires one gatekeeper to see the light. If a manager understands the advantages his department gains by bringing in talented people with perspectives honed in different fields, his department will become a Mecca for talent seeking room to grow. This results in improved performance, which encourages other managers to adopt similar attitudes, enabling a talent mobility empowering culture to gradually permeate across the organization.

Creating a diversity promoting mindset is even more challenging, because diversity has an extra gatekeeper, called HR. In most companies, they do the initial screening. Subconsciously, without even necessarily being aware of it, they, like most people, instinctively feel safer and more comfortable around people like them. The result is cookie cutter hiring, which of course does not exactly promote an environment’s diversity.

In today’s ultra-competitive, increasingly globalized world, diversity, flexibility and innovative organizational thinking are prized assets. A company whose employer branding reflects those values becomes a more attractive place to work, making it easier to recruit, which further burnishes the employer branding.

It also works in reverse. A reputation for unimaginative hidebound organizational thinking regarding diversity and talent mobility tarnishes a company’s employer branding. That is an unaffordable and unjustifiable indulgence in today’s increasingly flat and talent hungry world, which regards diversity as a premium asset.

The more a company’s employer branding is associated with nimble talent mobility and a diversity embracing culture, the more it enhances its intrinsic added value. A high added value employer branding is the ultimate growth fertilizer. Corporations are increasingly aware of this and are actively encouraging hiring and promotion policies that prioritize diversification and talent mobility over playing it safe.

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