Life in the fast lane; a guide to creating


Grace Clarke

Consultant and Early Talent Specialist

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Imagine a world where half the technologies you use today don’t exist: your morning playlist echoing through Spotify; your daily review of WhatsApp and Instagram; and navigating the chaos of the morning commute using Citymapper. Welcome to 2008.

Accelerate 10 years and technology has revolutionised our lives, making us more agile than ever before. But at what price?

Roles are expiring quickly and as Mercer’s 2018 Global Talent study reveals, only 55% of HR professionals are confident in upskilling and redeploying employees for new roles. With 96% of organisations planning a major transformation within the next two years, it is worrying that only 18% of Executives surveyed consider their organisations to be ‘change agile’. This brings agility to the top of the agenda, as it is key to organisational adaptability and success.

So, how do organisations identify and harness agility to combat the turbulence ahead? The answer lies in the next generation of talent entering the workforce, who bring a new age of digital fluency and agility with them.

To identify agility in early talent, look for its core features:

1. The cognitive ability to learn from experiences and incorporate learning from others

2. The willingness to apply those learnings in novel and ambiguous situations

3. The capability to un-learn or evolve behaviours and skills when they no-longer work

To harness it, re-evaluate the factors you’re hiring for today – as agility is there, but in disguise. Look for:

Resilience: How quickly do they recover after setbacks?

Problem-solving: How quickly do they solve complex problems they’ve not faced before?

Interpersonal and self-awareness: How do they learn from interactions with others?

Collaboration and empathy: How do they incorporate diverse perspectives into their own?

These factors are often key to succession planning or high potential programmes, but identification here is far too late. Agility is most critical to identify in early talent.

So what next?

1. Revisit your hiring practices. Whilst role-fit is important, ensure agility is given a heavy priority in your decision making.

2. Create the space for agility to thrive. Allow your early talent to learn, fail and re-learn fast.

3. Foster a culture where learning is core. This will allow early talent to teach others how to adapt and approach change.

By unlocking the agility of your early talent, you are taking the first steps to building an agile workforce in the transformative years ahead.

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