Reflections from the HCI 2015 Annual Summit

Jim Bitterle - Consulting Managing Partner ·

Once again, EDSI sponsored and participated in the Human Capital Institute’s 2015 Annual Summit. This year’s HCI event was an excellent opportunity to listen to a variety of professionals discuss the broad spectrum of talent issues that are facing our country. Attendees and speakers discussed a variety of best practices to manage the various issues.

Although there were many excellent speakers, one speaker was most memorable to me. Her name was Sheryl Connelly. She is the Chief Futurist for Ford Motor Company. At one point in her presentation, she said “ask yourself, what are the big, long lasting, slow moving trends? These are the things you can do something about.”

She then went on to list ten trends that we can do something about. Here is the list:

  1. World population is growing, and it will continue to grow.
  2. Birth rates are declining on a per woman basis.
  3. The population is aging.
  4. The number of retired persons per working person is increasing.
  5. The greatest growth opportunities will continue to be in both China and India.
  6. People will continue to migrate towards cities (“Urbanization”).
  7. The global talent shortage will get worse.
  8. Women will have increasing influence in corporations well into the future (“Girl Power”).
  9. Connectivity will continue to increase.
  10. Multi-tasking will increase. (However, it has been proven that people have lower applied IQs when multitasking).

I thought about it relative to our company, EDSI. It strikes me that the big, long-lasting, slow moving trends are:

  1. Skill gaps for our clients will continue to grow.
  2. Online education/training will continue to grow.
  3. Out of necessity, the number of companies that grow their own talent will increase.
  4. The workforce will continue to age.
  5. Millennials, as a percentage of the workforce, will continue to grow.

I also thought about our work with Kraft (Mondelez). We helped Kraft (Mondelez) build their own apprenticeship program. Although it didn’t seem like it at the time, Kraft (Mondelez) was significantly ahead of their time. They’re obviously smart enough to recognize the investment in their people was well worth the cost. Instead of waiting for the growing skills gap, combined with an aging population, to create significant talent issues in their organization, they decided to proactively do something about it.

Sadly, for every proactive company such as Kraft (Mondelez), I can think of hundreds of organizations that are doing nothing. In the end, these companies are going to struggle with skill gap and aging workforce issues. These issues will cost them dearly in terms of high costs, excessive overtime, poor service consistency and inferior product quality. Let’s hope Mrs. Connelly’s message gets to all corporate leaders. It’s time to start looking at these trends, then acting. To start, building your own talent pipeline is going to be a critical capability of American companies. I believe the companies that do this effectively will have a significant competitive advantage!

Remember, organizations with the best teams will win! It’s time to start growing your own talent.