Transforming talent into tomorrow’s workforce by Dee Caporali of Access Group

Transforming talent into tomorrow’s workforce and dispelling the myth of talent management in the mid-market - by Dee Caporali, HCM Director for Access Group
"In my mind, talent has never been more important to UK businesses - or more valuable. In the half-century from 1961 onwards, the UK economy has undergone a profound shift from a manufacturing base to a service-industries base. The world of work has changed almost beyond recognition.
"We spend more time than ever in full-time education before we start work and almost half of today’s UK workforce is female. Flexible and part-time working arrangements have become more common; more of us work for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) than in the past; and regardless of where we work, the internet and related technologies have totally transformed how we work.
In other words, fresh challenges demand fresh approaches to HR, if it is to support the work styles and ambitions of tomorrow’s employees - and that’s just as true in SMBs as it is in large enterprises.
"In a White Paper we recently issued on talent management we highlight how these tasks are set to get harder in the years to come. For a start, as employers increasingly hire ‘millennial generation’ employees, they’re starting to notice that these workers are quick to become dissatisfied and leave a company when they’re not happy. They have high expectations of what they expect to see from an employer and this is something that all HR professionals would be well advised to address sooner rather than later.
"Talent management is often seen as an issue that only the largest enterprises with the largest workforces need to address – but why should that be the case? Why should employees with ‘natural aptitude or skill’, the dictionary definition of talent, be any less valuable to mid-market companies than they are to larger organisations?
"Medium-sized businesses, or MSBs, “make a significant contribution to the UK’s overall economic well-being, creating jobs and prosperity in all regions of the UK,” according to a late 2011 report from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI). In order to do that, they need talent.
"In the CBI’s report, Future Champions: Unlocking Growth in the UK’s Medium-Sized Businesses, it defines MSBs as companies with revenues between £10 million and £500 million. Even at the lower end of this range, it estimates, firms with between £10 million and £100 million in revenues may represent less than 1% of UK firms, but they account for 22% of UK revenue and 16% of total employment.
"They may not have the size, scale and budgets of their larger rivals, but MSBs have other advantages. Their comparatively smaller size makes them more agile and responsive than blue-chip multinationals when presented with market changes and new opportunities. They often enjoy closer, more personal relationships with their customers and suppliers.
"Consensus is typically reached quicker in an MSB; innovations can be introduced faster. An MSB’s larger competitors may be able to outspend it but, hampered by bureaucracy and layers of organisational hierarchy, they won’t be able to move as quickly. At the same time, an MSB often expects more from its most talented employees and relies on them to deliver. In a smaller workforce, individual members must be able to use their initiative, show entrepreneurial flair, take proactive decisions and contribute to the free flow of ideas in the business. In fact, the MSB’s distinctive culture is often shaped as much by its team as by its founder or owner.
"The White Paper also argues that talent management is just as important to MSBs as it is to large enterprises – if not more so – and that, regardless of size, companies that fail to attract, retain and develop talented employees run the risk of missing out on opportunities for revenue growth and market expansion. This is a risk that few organisations – regardless of their size or industry sector – can afford to take in an uncertain economic environment.
"By putting in place robust talent management processes and tools, MSBs can help their most talented employees stand up to the challenges of this environment and better assist the organisation they work for in achieving its goals."
Dee Caporali, HCM Director for Access Group
Dee Caporali is a Director of Access’ human capital management side of the business, where she is responsible for delivering the best people solutions to organisations across the UK and Ireland.
Drawing on over 14 years’ experience in the industry, Dee works with a number of the UK’s top law firms, including Hill Dickinson, Cripps Harries Hall, Boodle Hatfield and Dundas & Wilson, helping them to improve their HR operations through the use of technology and providing strategic insight into the challenges the sector is facing as a result of the changing landscape.
Following 12 years in her previous role as Sales & Marketing Director of Select Software, which was acquired by Access in February 2010, Dee took up her new position as a Director of Access, where she is responsible for the continued growth of the HR customer base.
Dee is a leading industry spokesperson and has been quoted in a number of publications including the Society for Computers and Law, Orange Rag and Sunday Business Post.