A Look at What Best-Performing Companies are Doing NOW

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.–How does your credit union build the workforce it needs in order to stay ahead?



It’s among the most vexing of leadership challenges for senior managers at credit unions and CUSOs, as well as all other companies. Matt Mankins, partner with Bain & Co., has offered some direction in response to that question.

Corner HBR Graphic

Writing for the Harvard Business Review, Mankins noted that the World Economic Forum is predicting that “by 2020, more than a third of the desired core skill sets of most occupations will be comprised of skills that are not yet considered crucial to the job today.”

“Beyond the skills required to perform specific jobs, technology will also determine which jobs matter most in the years to come,” observed Mankins. “New innovations will change the basis of competition in many markets and alter the sources of advantage for most companies. Business-critical roles — that is, the jobs that are central to differentiating a company from its competitors and successfully executing its strategy — will also change. And companies will be forced to rethink the talent they will need to play these business-critical roles in the future.”

Most companies, wrote Mankins, have been slow to react.

“But building a winning workforce for tomorrow starts today,” he said. “The best-performing companies are already taking steps to attract new talent and widen their lead over rivals.”

According to Mankins, there are three lessons every organization should learn from what the leading companies are doing:

Delineate the Skills and Capabilities That Will be Required to Win in the Future, Based on Your company’s Strategy

“When Bain & Company examined the talent management practices of more than 300 large companies worldwide, we discovered that the most productive and best-performing organizations cluster their star talent in a few business-critical roles,”wrote Mankins. “This “intentionally nonegalitarian” model ensures that scarce difference-making talent is put in roles where it will have the biggest effect.

“But the roles most companies specify as business-critical will need to change as technology changes. Advanced analytics, the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, and other innovations are making it possible for companies to compete in new and very different ways. This should lead to new strategies and, with them, new business-critical roles.”

Objectively Assess the Current Skills and Capabilities of Your Workforce to Identify Gaps

“Once your organization understands the roles that will be most critical to winning, as well as the skills and capabilities required to be a star in these roles, it is important to examine the current skills and capabilities of your workforce,” said Mankins. “How many employees are capable of being stars in the business-critical roles of tomorrow? Does your company have a sufficient supply of star talent to win? The best companies audit the current skills and capabilities of their workforces carefully in order to identify any gaps they may face.”

Develop and Acquire the Talent You Need to Close Any Gaps, Starting Today

Mankins noted a Bain & Co. client recently remarked, “Assembling a talented workforce is very much like making scotch—unless you cellar something today, it will be very hard to have something worth drinking seven years from now.”

“The best companies work hard to match their hiring and talent development strategies with their future workforce needs,” he said. “Difference-making talent is a company’s scarcest resource. Innovative new technologies are changing the nature of work, as well as the skills and capabilities required to win in the future. Given the time it takes to attract and develop star talent, it is critical that companies start building the workforce they will need. There is no better time to start than today.”

The full article, including companies cited as examples, can be found here.

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