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Five Steps to Innovate your Talent Ecosystems.
By Leilani Latimer
Tuesday, 13th May 2014
 
I recently read a fascinating report by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (DTTL) entitled 'The Open Talent Economy;

Beyond corporate borders to talent ecosystems' which suggests that traditional talent models are being put under pressure by global trends  - globalization, technology, mobile, education, social media and analytics  - and that need  to rethink how they recruit, engage and reward employees.

The timing was perfect, as I was checking back in on one of the premises of a white paper we published last year in collaboration with HSMAI; “Converging on Success - Best Practices for Managing Convergence in Hospitality Sales, Marketing, and Revenue Optimization”;  specifically that as technologies converge and disciplines become more interdependent, businesses need to manage evolving roles and innovate their organizational structures.

In fact, the Deloitte report suggests that an Open Talent Ecosystem (think human cloud) can do for the workforce what the open source model did for software development; create a collaborative, transparent, technology-enabled that will bring greater scale and growth to businesses.
 
Here are five steps to think differently about your talent EcoSytem!
 
1. Throw out traditional job descriptions

Traditional job descriptions can actually limit the possibility of finding the best talent for an organization, source a candidate from a broader ecosystem of talent, and leverage that same person across an ecosystem. By breaking away from traditional roles burdened with outdated definitions, we can hire for and build competencies around projects and outcomes.
 
A real-life example of this came from Kristie Goshow, Senior Vice President Commercial for Viceroy Hotel Group, a global luxury, lifestyle hotel and resort company. “We are moving away from traditional job descriptions and instead are focusing on where we want to build core strength in capabilities.  Rather than build our recruitment strategy around roles,” stated Goshow, “we are hiring individuals with key capabilities and designing opportunities around them. An example would be how we approach ecommerce; instead of hiring an expert in ecommerce, we have hired the most talented individual for direct customer engagement, and then that person will design how ecommerce will be managed in our customer engagement strategy.”
 
2. Expand your talent ecosystem
Your talent ecosystem is not the same thing as your employee base. Look beyond your corporate boundaries and towards your partners, vendors and networks to discover your talent ecosystem which, thanks to increasing technology offerings is only getting broader. Even your customers are a part of that ecosystem as brand ambassadors in the social media realm.
 
Expanding your talent ecosystems can include integrating contractors or freelance workers, or crowd-sourcing projects. Given the changes in the global, multi-generational workforce and advances in technology, freelance talent is readily available, and easily accessible. Prime examples include; Elance, one of the largest online global platforms for freelance talent, sourcing more than 1.3 million jobs annually from designers and coders to data scientists and social media marketers. DesignCrowd offers crowd-sourced branding and design work, for example and Task Rabbit and the incredibly innovative ThumbTack offer access to a network of local professionals.
 
3. Re-think training and education
Training and education is already undergoing massive transformation thanks to continuing advances in technology. In an open and collaborative model, employee development will become more about creating learning and leadership for improved outcomes and must emphasize cross pollination of knowledge between groups, as we noted in “Converging on success”.
 
Michael Pace, General Manager of the Hotel Adagio in San Francisco, a luxury boutique hotel, member of Marriott’s Autograph Collection, gave a great example of this. “We are experimenting with hybrid roles and cross-training our teams to break down some silos and expand areas of expertise for better end results. For example, a front desk supervisor is now also a part-time supervisor for housekeeping, which is giving us completely new insights into customer engagement in both of those areas.” Pace said, “The output has been a re-prioritization of room preparation by floor in house-keeping and a pro-active approach to room assignment by the front desk staff.”
 
4. Consider reputation-based rewards

Looking at talent differently and aligning people around capabilities and projects also means redesigning performance systems, measures and ultimately rewards. This will fundamentally change the way people think about their jobs. Today it’s already possibly to recruit based upon reputation; on LinkedIn a user’s network provides endorsements and recommendations based upon skills and competencies, and newer recruiting tools such as Scuddle.me are purely accomplishment and reputation based.
 
Reputation management is one of the top 10 Hospitality trends for 2014, and it’s estimated that 70% of customers take recommendations from their family or friends when choosing a product, brand or business. So it would make perfect sense to align measures and rewards more specifically to project outcomes, including the approval rating or reputation score the team or individual has earned from the total talent ecosystem, including the customer!
 
Reinvent for adaptive leadership
Now is the time for organizations to reinvent their talent strategies and to equip themselves with leaders who can activate these changes in evolving organizational structures. It will take innovative and audacious leaders to embrace an Open Talent economy; there are clear benefits – social and economic – but there are also new challenges.
 
Teams need to be well orchestrated; managing a workforce that is no longer entirely on the corporate balance sheet, and which may be increasingly virtual, will require a different set of capabilities and relationship skills, where leaders will need to become “stewards” of an open talent ecosystem.

Leilani Latimer is Head of Product Marketing for
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