By Christel Heydemann, VP Corporate Human Resources & Transformation, Alcatel-Lucent
I just returned from the World Economic Forum on Latin America in Mexico, as I was invited to attend the Young Global Leader event with an energizing group of 280 young leaders coming from 59 countries, with very diverse backgrounds in politics, business, arts, social entrepreneurs or civil society.
Several debates with young global leaders including the opening session with Klaus Schwab and the closing meeting with Presidente Calderon of Mexico indicated the dawn of a new era. The Human age or the new era of Talentism, in which access to talent is replacing capital as the key economic differentiator.
In his opening keynote to Young global leaders, Klaus Schwab refered to his blog “The end of capitalism…what’s next ?” and restated his conviction: “it is fair to say that capital is losing its status as the most important factor of production in our economic system. As I outlined in my opening address in Davos, capital is being superseded by creativity and the ability to innovate — and therefore by human talents — as the most important factors of production. If talent is becoming the decisive competitive factor, we can be confident in stating that capitalism is being replaced by “talentism.” Just as capital replaced manual trades during the process of industrialization, capital is now giving way to human talent.”
As head of Human Resources for Alcatel-Lucent, I can’t agree more… Any business needs talents to succeed, and talent has no age, no passport and no gender, but talents attract talents ! On a global scale, we define our strategic workforce plan to ensure the best match of our needs for specific skills with available talents in the different markets. There are obvious differences between aging Europe and very competitive China. But beyond the optimization of skills needs and available talents, we also strive to offer the best career development path in order to develop and retain our talents. I had the opportunity to explain to other leaders how we do it within Alcatel-Lucent, I explained in particular that we launched in 2011 a global Internal Job Market where employees have access to all open positions within Alcatel-Lucent and can apply for jobs easily. Actually as easily as if they were applying for a job outside… the objective being to make our internal job market as attractive as the external market for every country we operate in.
For companies all over the world, finding individuals with the right skills is a key driver to business success, yet despite access to a large population, employers in every region are still struggling with a skills mismatch. This week in Mexico, business and political leaders discussed about innovative and sustainable models and solutions to address these challenges and drive transformation.
It is crucial that businesses and governments collaborate in every part of the world to unleash the potential of the most precious scarce resource – people.
Regional priorities are very different, but as President Felipe Calderon of Mexico, himself a Young Global Leader from the class of 1997, openly discussed with us: “The world is getting old, and we need to define new ideals and get new ideas from the younger generations across the globe”.
As economists are predicting the worst economic recovery in the post-World War era, while policy-makers around the globe have put creating jobs on top of their agenda, while all leaders must adapt in a world where velocity, connectivity, complexity and transparency have become the norm… I want to remember one thing from the WEF in Mexico: we are entering a new era of talentism where people who have dreams can make a difference !