Today’s organizations are far more complex than they used to be. Businesses require expertise in more than one area. This leads to organizations employing people with several different skills profiles. Gone are the days when we had a large number of employees with similar skills sets. Skills profiles are diverse and there are many skills profiles in the company which require employees in single digits.
Each of these single digit employees and their skills are important for the company. A company may need to have a website that is constantly managed and may require just one web master. A manufacturing company may require only one database administrator to manage their databases.
Any talent management program needs to pay attention to these fringe but vital resources. When planning development they need to address the development needs of people with these skills.
Most often organizations are geared towards aggregation of data and focusing on the larger numbers. This is flawed in today’s context. Organizations cannot afford to ignore the skills profiles that are in varied and are in small numbers. This is the challenge of the Long Tail.
What needs to be done?
Skills Profiles of each employee need to be well captured – mapped, collated and maintained. Care should be taken to include the skills of those in small numbers.
HR particularly has to be aware of the limitations of aggregation. For example, when it is charting training plans, it cannot lose sight of these people in small numbers. They too need to be developed. These people and their very important skills profiles could easily get lost in pie charts and other graphs which are good for aggregation.
Every talent management program should address the needs of these people, whether it is training on new skills or planning for career movements.
Ramu is founder of It's Your Skills. Feels he has been fortunate to have had education in engineering and human resources and experience in non-IT and IT industries. They have helped him evolve an all round perspective on the talent space.