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TD Magazine

Future Focused to Be Future Ready

Thursday, June 15, 2023

The BEST Awards recognize organizations that demonstrate enterprise-wide success as a result of employee talent development. The winners use learning as a strategic business tool to get results. View the entire list of 2023 BEST Award winners.

Transformation requires talent management innovation.


In today's competitive talent market, savvy C-suite leaders know they must differentiate their businesses through a keen focus on people; acquisition, engagement, development, and retention all matter. For businesses that serve clients looking for transformation best practices, employees must be equipped with knowledge, skills, and capabilities that make them future-focused transformation enablers.

These BEST Award winners think innovatively about talent development, empowering human potential, and enabling organizational capabilities.

Pinpointing skills

Jacobs, a professional service provider for consulting, technical, scientific, and project delivery solutions, uses a talent management platform called e3 Experience to help make talent management initiatives easier and more accessible for managers and employees. In the past year, the TD team made large-scale changes to the platform. The largest addition involved implementing e3 Lens, a tool that aggregates skills, data, experience, and credentials. It is easily searchable, enabling leaders to find the right person for the right project. Prior to that, finding the data was a manual process requiring multiple emails and phone calls.

E3 Lens helps Jacobs foster inclusion and diversity on its projects due to its sole focus on what capabilities someone brings to the team. Talent acquisition, project managers, and leaders are able to find employees with specific skills, experience, credentials, and more from across the global company. The tool also assists Jacobs with better using the skills and resources available within the company, which saves time and money on recruiting new employees.

Talent mobility

iLEAP NEXT is a three-stage program focused on building talent over a three-year period. The TD team at India-based Infosys BPM Limited conceived the program to ensure junior talent in the organization has defined development paths that help them prepare for more advanced work. iLEAP is a platform that enables individuals to learn anytime, anywhere, and on any device. The program also has an "earn-as-you-learn" component, with assured changes in compensation upon completion of learning milestones. That has resulted in higher retention of employees within the job level, giving Infosys BPM a motivated and capable talent pool at its disposal.

Another initiative, the Bridge program, has a structured suite of blended learning solutions, online assessments, and internships that enable talent mobility and reskilling across the company.

Like iLEAP and the Bridge program, the Finishing School has contributed to talent mobility, a key talent strategy for Infosys BPM. The Finishing School provides employees with a solid awareness of the domain skills required to have an accelerated performance journey. The three- to five-day program includes more than 100 internally developed units that upskill talent, build competencies, and accelerate productivity.

Talent mobility is also critical at QinetiQ, formerly Avantus Federal, a US government contractor. Its InsideFirst program, an internal transfer and career development initiative, originally began to help employees at risk of losing project funding to identify skills and provide recommendations for other roles within the organization.

The integrated talent management (ITM) team gave the program a major update. Team members connected additional strategic capabilities and initiatives offering full career-planning sessions—including skills assessments, gap analysis, and training plans—to assist employees looking for future roles. The updated program also includes short-term work opportunities as a way for staff to explore new environments and ensure skill alignment.

The company takes the I in ITM seriously; every program is truly integrated, weaving development and talent management processes throughout the organization.

In response to the requests of several workers who wanted to better understand the business development organization and assist with winning new work, QinetiQ connected proposal-learning modules within its business development pipeline to identify new writers and reviewers for upcoming proposals.

The final component is the inclusion of high-visibility opportunities to lead employee resource groups, professional development programs, and other company initiatives. That offers staff the chance to demonstrate leadership skills in preparation for future leadership roles.

According to World Economic Forum research, 94 percent of business leaders expect employees to learn new skills on the job, and 50 percent of employees will need reskilling by 2025. That research led Best of the BEST winner (earning a BEST Award 10-plus times) Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) to ask, "How can organizations develop employee skill sets and scale the business simultaneously, given today's real constraints on resources?"


For TCS, the answer is in employee career growth and progression. In 2020, the company launched Elevate, a learning strategy and merit-based, democratized, transparent talent framework designed to establish a tighter link between learning, career, and rewards.

The TD team designed the framework to cater to a broader spectrum of high-potential associates, from younger employees to senior leadership. An enterprise-wide change brought together by business, HR, and an ecosystem of partners, Elevate brings the much-needed, "segmented" approach to learning for different experience levels of associates and gives continuous learning a sense of purpose.

That focus on what TCS calls "Hi-Talent" at all levels of the organization has helped reduce the organization's dependency on external hires. The company can fill high-demand job openings internally, which also fosters associate motivation and engagement, and people see career growth as achievable.

Capability and competency building

The digital-first future lies at the core of talent efforts at WNS, a business process management company specializing in digital transformation. WNS aims to enable its workforce to become digital natives, a mindset shift that requires new ways of thinking. Powering the shift is the CEO Millennial Council that capitalizes on the fact that millennials are digital natives and often have an affinity for technology, harnessing millennials' skills and expertise to drive business impact.

The council's leaders serve as mentors and talent enablers, engaging millennials to identify strategic projects with significant business impact. The company aligns participants in the council with projects based on their expertise and interests. Furthermore, mentors guide participants in proposing and executing strategic decisions, giving them insight into critical leadership competencies with hands-on experience. The Millennial Council has been associated with many key projects, including millennial engagement, marketing and branding, social media engagement, and corporate social responsibility.

Developing capabilities and continuous upskilling are top goals for EXL, a global company that provides data analytics and data-led digital solutions for its clients. Culture activation has been critical following the organization's move to hybrid work. EXL's Better Way Code evolved to reshape leadership behaviors crucial to the company's growth. Learning efforts align to clients' priorities and focus on development, knowledge sharing, advocacy, leadership, and communication.

According to EXL, its learning management system, ReNew, "drives and democratizes on-demand, self-driven learning and growth experiences for employees" based on their personal goals and skills by using artificial intelligence; curated libraries; and intelligent, open-sourced content. ReNew features specialized learning pathways to build digital capabilities, skill mapping to identify where an individual needs to build skills, communities of talent to collaborate and discuss the latest trends, practice questions, practice labs for real-world and hands-on experience, as well as supervisor dashboards and leaderboards. Learning happens from any time and from any place.

About the Author

Kristen Fyfe-Mills is the director of employee development and engagement at Farmer Focus, an innovative organization with the fastest-growing poultry brand in the US. In her role, she supports nearly 900 team members, from front-line hourly associates to the executive team. Before joining Farmer Focus, Kristen served in many roles at the Association for Talent Development, culminating in her position as director of marketing and strategic communications.

Kristen holds two master’s degrees, one in pastoral and spiritual care from Marymount University and the other in journalism from Northwestern University. She serves on the advisory board for Shenandoah University’s Transformative Leadership program. She is the mom of two exceptional humans, and she and her husband Doug live in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

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