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ATD Blog

The New Talent Economy

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

As an organizational psychologist in the pre-Fuel50 days, part of what we did was help organizations develop talent pipes to fit business needs. I used to build psychometric tests that were so good we could eliminate 98 percent of the names and only two or three people would get a “tick.” The truth? This kept me up at night, knowing we had ruled out so many talented individuals. Cue the inception of Fuel50 and our purpose: to give employees control over their careers.

I’d like to dive deeper into what the future of the talent economy could look like, but for now, let’s set the precedent. Why do we need a talent economy, how are these pain-points affecting us today, and what’s our approach? Let’s consider why we need to be thinking differently about the talent within our organizations.

Millennials will comprise half the workforce by 2020. They have clear career expectations. It’s about transparency, fairness, and acceleration. It’s about being able to use their talents and capabilities to make contributions in a meaningful way.

Automation is creating fear for employees and organizations. We need to enable leaders to support their people in adapting to the increasing component of this element. It will become a strategic advantage for those organizations that do a good job with this task.

Internal Skills Shortages
Research has shown that almost 66 percent of organizations will face an internal skills shortage during the next three to five years. Thinking about the skills and the skill readiness of your people is increasingly important.

Disrupted Career Landscape
Today’s career experience is about longer runs and steeper rises. This means employees are facing more time without job title changes or promotions. When there is a vertical career path, derailment can occur because employees haven’t necessarily picked up the experience and knowledge that more frequent career progression steps once provided.

Roller Coaster Career Paths
Careers are increasingly going to be roller coasters for employees. The speed of change is accelerating. Employees should expect frequent job and skills changes.


Untapped Skills and Talent

According to our research, 86 percent of employees think they have skills and talent that are not being used by your organization. Somehow, we need to connect the dots between these untapped opportunities that employees have and organizations need.

Fuel50’s approach to democratizing the talent experience includes:

Power Up Your People
Research has shown that 42 percent of employees are demanding more transparency around their career path and career growth plans. Employees expect a career pathing experience that is like Google Maps. They want a road map to their future—they want to put in their current location and destination, then see their journey. Fuel50’s career pathing feature FuelPathing provides exactly that.


Power Up Your Leaders
We need to consider how leaders are thinking about their talent. Do you want pivotal talent? Or do you (like us) want talent that is ready to pivot?

Fuel50 is looking at talent as a talent leverage model, where it’s about performance versus passion. Top right is the “talent sweet spot” where an individual plays to their full potential (see figure below). The more an individual can reach this spot, the more engaged and valuable they are going to be to the organization.

Building Talent Citizenship
Ultimately, we are working to create a new democratized world of talent. With talent citizenship, employees are treated equally and fairly as true citizens and contributors to your mission and goals.

Fuel50 rewards effort, skills, influence, and contribution, which are tracked by the employee and endorsed by colleagues rather than evaluated by the manager. We have a culture where all are equal and individual talents are celebrated. All are economic contributors and benefit in a way that is fair to everyone.

About the Author

Anne Fulton is CEO and co-founder of Fuel50. Contact her at [email protected].

1 Comment
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The good news is the new economy/relationship with employees is already evident in the behavior of industry leaders. Companies like Southwest Airlines and Capital One treat employees like trusted partners in the business, driving and profiting from the profitable growth of the company. These Forbes and Harvard Business Review articles provide more background:
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