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Season 2, Episode 12: Optimizing Workforces in Times of Change

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Hiring optimism is returning to levels not seen since the start of the pandemic and yet, that optimism is being tempered by the highest levels of global talent shortages in 15 years. At the same time, the increased acceptance of remote work is opening up new opportunities for organizations to consider their talent mix, where and how they source talent, and how they manage their physical assets while engaging and developing their talent for the future. So what are the latest workforce trends? What does the data say? How do you ensure talent availability and flexibility? How do you enable sustainable cost savings? What is the story behind Talent Solutions Consulting and, why now?  Join Pierre Jauffret, SVP of Global & Enterprise Client Consulting at Talent Solutions, as he leads us to re-image how and where work is done. 

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Host: Roberta Cucchiaro 

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Full Transcript

Roberta Cucchiaro (00:31): Hi, and welcome to the 12th episode of the Transform Talent Podcast. I'm Roberta Cucchiaro, and I will be hosting you today. So I'm particularly excited about today's episode because we have an announcement to make, a very, very exciting announcement. As part of our Transform Talent series, we have an event coming up. Talent Solutions is hosting the Where, the How, and the Why the World Works. It's a virtual series taking place on September 14th, 15th, and 16th. It is just one hour each day with a keynote and three breakout sessions to choose from.

On day one, we look at where the world works, and how you can increase your speed to talent, giving you more flexible access to the skills you need. On day two, we prepare you for a rapidly automating and increasingly human future where success relies as much on emotional intelligence as artificial intelligence. And on day three, we explore how to build inclusive communities that act as self-sustaining talent ecosystems, because we want to grow skills, not buy them. We want to create leaders from within, and turn trust into an engine for innovation. So join us together with Everest Group, LinkedIn, Consciously Unbiased, Made By Dyslexia, HSBC, Babcock, Petroleum Geo-Services, QinetiQ, and Q Agency, recognized by Deloitte as the fastest growing software agency in Europe. Make sure to register using the link in the podcast description, or just follow us on our website, or LinkedIn, Twitter, and you'll see the ads. You'll then be able to watch live or on demand, whenever you want.

So today, we're going to talk about Talent Solutions Consulting. It's a growing practice within ManpowerGroup Talent Solutions, and we're going to touch upon some of the key themes that will come up at our event as well. We'll also be looking at how organizations can align and optimize their workforce in times of change. And our guest today is Pierre Jauffret, he's our Senior Vice President of Global and Enterprise Client Consulting. So welcome to the Transform Talent Podcast, Pierre.

Pierre Jauffret (02:45): Thank you.

Roberta Cucchiaro (8): Nice to have you here. So, first of all, I would like to look at the market and the increased acceptance of remote work is opening up new opportunities for organizations to consider their talent mix. So for example, where and how they source talent, how they manage their physical assets while also developing their talent, upskilling, reskilling. And we've also seen hiring optimism returning to levels not seen since the start of the pandemic. And at the same time, that optimism is being tempered by the highest level of global talent shortages in 15 years. So, so much is changing so quickly. What are some of the key themes that you're hearing from clients in the markets?

Pierre Jauffret (03:28): Well you're correct in terms of, you know, there's still a great deal of uncertainty in terms of what lies ahead. And I think clients are wondering, you know, "How do I play it? And how do I move forward in this still quite uncertain world?" And clients are facing challenges as they navigate uncharted territory. You know, they're faced with questions and obstacles about, you know, uh, hybrid and remote, you know, mask and vaccines, because we're not completely out of the pandemic yet. Additionally, they're asking critical questions about their talent strategies, "Where can I find the talent I desperately need? How do I retain and grow the talent I have? How do we safely bring people back to work?" Quite a number of things. But if you allow me to step back for a minute, in terms of, a little bit at the macro level, you know, we know that the pandemic has also accelerated existing trends.

So the majority of global businesses, more than 60% of them have accelerated digital transformation plans through, or even due to COVID-19 pandemic. So it was preexisting, and it accelerated. Through the pandemic, you know, the global workforce shrunk by about 1 million workers, uh, as a result of the pandemic. But at the same time, the global demand for hiring increased like 2.8, 2.9% in the same periods. You know, all those dynamics are at play. Back to your point about, you know, hybrid and remote work, this is a very hot topic with clients here and now. How does this impact that workforce? And what does this mean moving forward? 48% of employees will likely work remotely, at least part-time in the post pandemic reality. It was less than 30% before pandemic. And we have assessed and evaluated that 67% of the roles, two roles out of three in organizations are remote possible, meaning there is no negative performance or productivity impact having those roles remotely. This is one big trend, and question, and theme we are hearing from, from clients here and now.

Second one is around, outsourcing, you know, manufacturing, IT, back office jobs, geographies. And everybody knows that, you know, some of the countries that have been hard hit by the pandemic, and that's true for India, for Brazil, are having a big slice of that workforce. You know, in India, ongoing disruption has reduced the active candidate pool despite increased demand. You know, more than 75%, three out of four of the top 54 employers in India, evaluating alternate markets to balance India’s reliance. So, you know, there's a risk mitigation issue here. How do they mitigate the risk? How do they diversify the workforce? How can they identify new sources of talent outside of those markets?

Mexico is a bit of a different story because it's as you know, a more a regulatory and labor legislation shift. But the impact is the same. And at the end of the day, it's about risk mitigation. So here are some of the hot topics we hear from clients here and now.

Roberta Cucchiaro (07:17): So I would like to, to know more about how ManpowerGroup Talent Solutions Consulting can fit into this market landscape, and what challenges it's trying to solve. So why did you form Talent Solutions Consulting and why now?

Pierre Jauffret (07:32): Well, you know, Talent Solutions Consulting is here to support clients, to make decisions about their workforce that help them turn, you know, workforce planning, workforce optimization into a competitive advantage. So we talked about some of the market dynamics, and, you know, the clients are very aware of the symptoms and what's happening. They see the symptoms, but they sometimes have to be supported to go back to the root cause, to have a better understanding of the why and the, "What can I do about it?" And that's why we created Talent Solutions Consulting. Help our clients juggle with data, insights, analytics. Providing them with the right insight to challenging insights as well that will, allow them to make better informed workforce decisions. And that's about how to create a flexible and sustainable access to talent. That's about diversifying their work portfolio, that's about mitigating risks while driving the workforce costs as low as they possibly can.

And why now? You ask why now. We believe that now is the opportunity. I believe that not looking into those data points inside analytics is something that organizations can no longer afford to do as they have to make the right workforce decisions moving forward. So there's, there's never been a better opportunity to help and support our clients on that front. Which is a little bit more upstream in terms of, you know, they're used to working with us, with ManpowerGroup, with Talent Solutions in terms of delivering, delivering, delivering, and will continue to deliver and help them deliver in, you know, 80 plus geographies around the world, et cetera. But we would like them to, you know, stop underutilizing us and the leveraging us in terms of the workforce data and those workforce insights that, that we have that we've had for some time, but that we now want to go formalize and materialize into, into Talent Solutions Consulting.

Roberta Cucchiaro (09:58): And like you said, the, the world of work is completely different today in comparison to what it was two years ago. So how will we need to challenge our clients to think differently about what Talent Solutions Consulting can provide?

Pierre Jauffret (10:14): Well, you know, first of all, as I mentioned, our clients have historically used Talent Solutions to manage and deliver talent at scale. You know, multi-channel talent acquisition, supply, career management. We want our clients engage us earlier, upstream, more strategically in the process to help them with workforce planning. Organizations more and more needs to use data and analytics to make those decisions, and we do have the breadth and depth of data and insights that is, you know, unmatched and revolved in the industry. We analyze this data from more than 80 countries. We leverage 200 markets considerations, data points ranging from labor, demographics, wages, tax policy, regulation, geopolitical constraints. And we create those custom reports for our client based on their business needs and priorities.

We need also to challenge, I think our clients in terms of what do they do about this? Because, you know, at the end of the day, you listen to what all the consulting firms are saying those days, and, you know, you go to the big four or whoever, and, you know, all are saying the same thing, the diagnostic we're making is the same. Slightly different wordings of course, because of, you know, brand equities and all of that. But at the end of the day the diagnostic is the same. But we really want to make a difference in helping our clients on the "So what? What do you do about it?" And how can, especially those, the HR function be more proactive into, you know, reshaping the workforce and reinventing how and where work is done.

Roberta Cucchiaro (12:07): So if you could list just a few of them, what will the initial offering from Talent Solutions Consulting include?

Pierre Jauffret (12:14): Sure. So, you know, it's really about workforce optimization. Uh, we are looking at, you know, when and where remote work should be leveraged. Uh, we are looking at which new markets have emerged that are offering both high quality and cost effective talent. We are looking at where else operations, and, you know, operations would be manufacturing, back office, IT, you name it. You know, where operations should be established around the world, or within a given country to minimize risks, to mitigate risk. Quite fascinating to see the workforce dynamics in the U.S., in North America at the moment. You know, the movement of population to smaller cities, the willingness or not willingness from employees to come back to work full time, and how this impacts the ability to attract and retain talent. So, you know, supporting our clients through all of those dynamics, providing them with the data that will enable them to make the best decisions.

Roberta Cucchiaro (13:26): And looking ahead... I know we are just starting, but looking ahead, what's on the roadmap for this offering?

Pierre Jauffret (13:34): Looking ahead, we need to continue to you know, leverage all this data, and all those different data points. I mean, if I briefly looked at, you know, in terms of talent availability, the number one country in the world is the United States. When you look at cost efficiency, well, it's the Philippines. If you look at you know, the regulatory constraints, the least constrained geography is Ireland. And when you look at productivity, you know, the highest productivity is Singapore. Now, of course, it doesn't mean that you should, you know, spread your talent as an organization between those four countries. But, you know, looking at all these dynamics, at those 200 data points, uh, having the right rating for the right industry, or for the right skillset, really enables to make, to make the right decisions. So, you know, that's the first thing.

And it's all about, you know, turning workforce into a real competitive advantage. The other thing moving forward, and I was talking about, you know, a number of consulting firms, the big four, and the other ones. You know, we are not aiming to become a generalist consulting firm, but when it comes to workforce, we believe we have the experience, the expertise, the data, the capabilities, to be a major player when it comes to this particular segment, which is workforce consulting. And we aim at becoming a trusted advisor, supporting our clients upstream as I mentioned in workforce decision-making.

At the same time, if I'm slightly provocative for a second, as ManpowerGroup Talent Solution is present in all those geographies in the field. We can help our clients not only upstream in making those decisions, but also downstream in implementing those workforce decisions. And, you know, a little bit, unlike some consulting firms that will create a, you know, and craft a sophisticated and pricey recommendation, and then run away as fast as they can, if you allow this wording, we are there to also support operationally in terms of the implementation and the operationalization of those workforce decisions.

Roberta Cucchiaro (16:07): So how do you think workforce optimization is going to affect the world of HR and the future of work for the next few years?

Pierre Jauffret (16:14): Well, you know, we cannot predict everything, we have to you know, acknowledge that, because there will be new dynamics coming in. However, you know, you talked about HR, and if you look at the HR function, you know, really now is the time for organizations to reimagine how and where work is done. So, you know, HR needs to be in the driver's seat for that. Being proactive, being strategic, not just being, you know, in a reactive, fix it, emergency firefighter role. You know, be on top of its show for that. Because we know it has significant impact on hiring those remote workers that enables organizations to source talent in new markets. It has impact on retention and attraction, creating the right blend of contingent, permanent, remote, hybrid roles to really attract the top and key talent. In this new reality, we know that workers want flexibility. You know, for example, they want to work remotely a few days a week, as they want a hybrid workplace that allows for better balance. And the companies that will provide this will try better at attracting and retaining top talent and key talent.

And at the end of the day, HR is also an enabler and an accelerator for business transformation. So, you know, you talked about upskilling and reskilling earlier in your introduction. You know, as workers must rapidly build new skills, new capabilities, organizations need to identify the people with the right mindset in demand skills, and ensure talent availability for critical future skills to accelerate transformation, to drive competitive advantage. So, you know, that's an opportunity for the HR function to play an even more central, key strategic role as long as they make the right decisions, we aim at supporting them with the right, the right workforce data. In terms of the future of work, more broadly, scarcity of in-demand talent doesn't go away, post-pandemic, on the contrary. So, you know, having the right talent to deliver on the business imperative is, and, and will remain a major differentiator for organizations moving forward. And hopefully we can support them along the journey.

Roberta Cucchiaro (18:52): Yeah, absolutely. And, and you did mention at the beginning that 60% of organizations have accelerated the digitization strategy. You did mention as well that now two out of three jobs accept a remote position, which was unthinkable a couple of years ago. And so it really looks like the success of a business is defined by its flexibility to digitize, its speed to market, and by being able to bring a sustainable net zero approach to their human resources. And in order to do this, there's only one way, you need data, right? So you need access to the right data to make the right business decisions. So  I also have an out of a script question for you. Imagining that we get on a time machine and we are transported to 2052, what do you think we will be talking about then?

Pierre Jauffret (19:45): (laughs). Not, not sure, but at the end of the day, if we're still around workforce... At the end of the day, you know having an optimized workforce kind of generates two things. One is having that talent availability and flexibility to deliver on the business. And the other one is creating sustainable cost savings, and that's what you achieve through a mix of, remote, not remote, right Location, risk mitigation, et cetera. So I would suspect, although I don't know what will happen that far down the line, I would suspect that the conversations would include maybe new components, new elements that will have appeared in between. But will still, when it comes to workforce, revolve around, you know, how do you ensure talent availability and the flexibility on the one side? And on the other side, how do you create sustainable cost savings?

Roberta Cucchiaro (20:47): Mm-hmm (affirmative). And how we compete against the robots as well? (laughs).

Pierre Jauffret (20:52): (laughs) Absolutely. And you know, that the research that ManpowerGroup has done along those lines demonstrates that, you know, the robotization is likely to create as many different and new roles, as much as it will destroy some current existing ones. It's just about completely new skillsets, some of which are still unknown as of today.

Roberta Cucchiaro (21:18): Yeah, exactly. I was just thinking when, before electric cars existed, we didn't have that skillset from an engineering point of view. And so the world changes and new skills are created at the same time. Well, this was extremely interesting. And thank you so much for joining us today on the 12th episode of the Transform Talent Podcast. We hope you enjoyed this episode as much as we did. And to all our listeners, don't forget to register to Where, How, and Why the World Works - a Talent Solutions Virtual Series. See you first at the event, and then on the next episode. Bye-bye.

Pierre Jauffret (21:53): Thank you very much, bye-bye.

Roberta Cucchiaro (21:54): Thank you, bye.

Outro (22:00): The Transform Talent Podcast, because we know the right talent transforms organizations and helps your business flourish. Talent Solutions, business and talent aligned.