Press releases

Key leaders in Talent Management Convene at Deloitte University to discuss the future relevance or irrelevance of HR

“The system is broken” agreed many in attendance; vigorous debate about how to fix it

Lori Grey
Deloitte
Public Relations
+1 212 492 2865

Chrissie Marra
MWW Group
Public Relations
+1 646 215 6888 

Westlake, Texas, July 9, 2012 — As global organizations grapple with a more technologically intensive and complex agenda, fissures in traditional approaches to talent management and leadership development are increasingly visible. This was a key theme that emerged at ON Talent, an invitation-only discussion hosted at Deloitte University where leading names in talent argued that the prevailing models of talent development no longer hold. New models like the corporate lattice that are better attuned to the times must be adopted or the risk of HR becoming less relevant is high.

“The system is broken,” said Annmarie Neal, founder of the Center for Leadership Innovation. “If the economic models of the last era of business won't translate to today's environment, why would our organizational and talent models translate? In fact, the way we have traditionally approached talent can be an impediment in the 21st century."

ON Talent explored the future of talent in a post-digital environment, where technology, cloud, social, analytics, mobile, and cyber-security are embedded in the workplace and long-standing assumptions are being challenged. The conversations included deep-dive discussions on the following themes:

The changing social contract between employee and employer
How new technology is changing the way employees connect, work and generate high performance
The imperative to augment “gut judgments” with analytics

“It is clear that we need to re-evaluate and recalibrate much of our approach to talent and leadership as a result of the new business dynamics, social changes and the work styles of today’s global employees,” said Jeff Schwartz, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP and ON Talent chair. “The perspectives brought forth at ON Talent will help to identify new strategies for a world transformed by technology, the human cloud, mobile and social media.

Emerging themes from ON Talent:

The mix of business leaders and academics gathered at Deloitte University for ON Talent included:

  • Luani Alvarado, vice president, global talent management, Johnson & Johnson
  • Beth Axelrod, senior vice president, human resources, eBay Inc.
  • Cathy Benko, vice chairman and managing principal, Brand, Communications and Community, Deloitte LLP, and co-author of The Corporate Lattice
  • Susan Burnett, senior vice president, talent and organization development, Yahoo!
  • Dorie Clark, consultant/writer and author of forthcoming Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future
  • Tom Davenport, President’s Distinguished Professor of IT and Management, Babson College, analytics and decision-making expert and co-author of Judgment Calls
  • John Hagel, co-chairman, Deloitte’s Center for the Edge and co-author, The Power of Pull
  • Sylvia Ann Hewlett, president and CEO, Center for Talent Innovation
  • Ellen Levy, managing director, Silicon Valley Connect
  • Dimitra Manis, senior vice president, global head of people, Thomson Reuters
  • Annmarie Neal, founder, Center for Leadership Innovation
  • Steven Rice, executive vice president, human resources, Juniper Networks
  • Adam Schorr, principal, SYPartners
  • Peter Wright, group head of human resources, Zurich Insurance Group

Throughout the two day event, the participants observed that businesses are belatedly recognizing the post-recession and forthcoming post-digital realities that are driving a critical need for change – both at the organizational and individual level. While some see the opportunity for renewal of "evergreen" talent strategies, others urged more radical change. At the conclusion of ON Talent, the participants agreed on the following key takeaways:

  • Work and the way it gets done must be redesigned. The fully connected company does not have four walls or walls at all. Organizations must tap the power of this “human cloud” and enable people to access opportunity, pursue their passions, find meaning in their work and grow – with support and endorsement from the corporation.   Companies will continue to actively engage workers beyond their boundaries.  Managing talent in a porous and fluid environment is a critical future challenge.
  • Customization for the employee’s work and life. Talent leaders must provide an environment that supports people bringing their whole selves to work. Employees’ lives outside the workplace can inform and enhance business performance so companies will be well served to recognize employees’ distinctive characteristics and take a segmented, customized approach to talent.
  • What and where is post digital global HR? The role of HR/Talent Professionals has needed to shift to a more strategic and advisory role for a long time, partly due to the reality that so much work in business organizations is becoming automated by the use of technology. HR and talent leaders have a unique opportunity to redefine talent for these new business realities.

ON Talent was the second event in the ON series at Deloitte University aimed at fostering meaningful discussions and debate to generate breakthrough ideas that improve business. The inaugural session, ON Social, examined the growing impact of social data on business and society.

As an outcome of ON Talent, Deloitte will produce a white paper for release later this summer.  And, in conjunction with ON Talent, Deloitte University Press also released a new e-book, The Talent Paradox: A new agenda for talent and leadership, which includes research and writings previously published in Deloitte Review. To view the e-book, please visit www.deloitte.com/ontalent.

About Deloitte University

Deloitte is committed to growing leadership skills at every level of the organization. Investment in Deloitte University, The Leadership Center, is the embodiment of this commitment to provide enriching experiences for our people and to ensure Deloitte remains “a place where leaders thrive.” We understand that today’s leaders must consistently enhance their skills to deliver quality in a rapidly changing environment. By transforming how we develop leaders, we are proving our commitment to both our people and our clients.  For more information about Deloitte University, The Leadership Center, please visit www.deloitteuniversity.com.

As used in this document, "Deloitte" means Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. Please see www.deloitte.com/us/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. Certain services may not be available to attest clients under the rules and regulations of public accounting

Contact us

Contact us via our online form

Submit RFP

Submit via our online form

Find an office

Find a local office