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Career on-demand: What the Netflix generation expects from talent management

In the past, the “all or nothing” rule applied to many areas of life. If you wanted something you had to buy it. If you wanted to watch a show on TV, you had to sit in front of the device at a specific time. Those days are long gone. Nowadays you can get almost anything on-demand: a car, your favorite song, the newest TV series, the missing ingredient for your soup – everything is just a few clicks and minutes away. What I want, when I want it. In a survey of more than 1,000 car buyers, 25% of the “Netflix generation” (young people up to the age of 30) were interested in a car rental subscription rather than buying one. Renting a little, owning a little, using it sometimes more and sometimes less, but having the option to do so at any given time, creates a good feeling among young people. Or – from a marketing perspective: a good customer experience.

If we transfer this concept to career development, an interesting analogy emerges. The “all or nothing” rule used to be applicable here as well: Once you had your foot in the company door, the path was pretty much set. You either climbed the career ladder, with all the associated conventions and possible privations, or you fulfilled the assigned job profile within manageable margins. Learning meant either completing further training on topic X at location Y at time Z or just staying at the current skill level. No one would notice anyway.

Thanks to smart technology, completely new opportunities are opening up for companies and their employees: Career development on-demand, so to speak. And that doesn’t just mean taking seminars and workshops online. If implemented consistently, agile career development means that employees can learn what they want, when they want, where they want, and with whom they want, sometimes with more input, sometimes with less, sometimes on the job as part of a project that they have applied for, sometimes in exchange with colleagues from other areas that they previously didn’t know.

It must be flexible and easy to use

The survey on the car rental subscription yielded further compelling insights into the preferences and user behavior of people with a digital mindset. Many of the participants were willing to pay a surcharge for certain features, such as

  • flexible terms 
  • the flexibility of switching back and forth between a variety of vehicles
  • the option of a particularly easy contract process.  

Flexibility, a low threshold, and a thoroughly good user experience are also in demand in modern talent management. A talent marketplace software that is committed to these principles can make a key difference and ensure that knowledge flows within the company and previously unnoticed skills can fully develop, with all the positive effects that this may have on the individual and the organization as a whole.

Employee Experience: The Netflix principle in talent management

Which series did you last binge-watch on your favorite streaming service? And have you ever wondered why some series are so captivating that you are fused to the couch and just can’t switch off? It is not just a coincidence. Netflix, for example, has perfected its user-centric approach over the past few years. To do this, the company constantly evaluates user behavior, stores algorithms, and thus learns which factors make a series or a movie successful. New series are then produced based on these factors. “House of Cards”, one of the most successful series ever, is the best example of how well this can work. The advantages for everyone involved are obvious: maximum entertainment for users and minimal production risk for Netflix. Instead of just one season, the company can shoot two seasons at once without fear of a flop, and save a lot of money in the process, which in turn is then available for new productions.

Networked learning in the People Cloud

This approach also works in corporate talent development. People-to-people matching, as with the Tandemploy software, makes it possible. By matching not only people with offers (e.g. projects, jobs) within the company but also people with other people, a unique “people cloud” is created in which potentially ALL talents and skills in the company can be found. Everything that employees can do and want to share (even outside of their job profiles), everything that they are interested in and want to learn, is visible in the data cloud for them and their colleagues and provides the basis for networking. The cloud grows continuously as employees add new skills and interests to their profiles. Not because they have to, but because they realize that they benefit from it. For example, because they get to know interesting colleagues and gain valuable knowledge for their job. And because it’s easy and fun.

Binge-Networking: The employee leads and management follows

This creates a treasure trove of data that not only opens up new learning and networking opportunities for employees but completely new possibilities for talent management and strategic workforce planning. This is because our matching software has integrated a smart skill analyzer that aggregates the data from the People Cloud and makes it available to management in anonymized form. The management team can thus see exactly which skills are available in the company, which learning needs can be met by colleagues, and where a skills gap is likely to occur. To avoid such a gap, the company can develop and offer customized, high-quality learning opportunities without having to fear that they will “flop” because employees do not use them. The time and money saved on costly surveys can be invested in new smart technology or employee benefits. Motivation, work satisfaction, and innovative spirit increase.

In conclusion: ‘All or nothing’ has definitely had its day. Employees can and want to drive their careers forward on their own initiative, supported by a management that understands the talents and needs of its employees and responds to them with custom-tailored offers. Networked learning and formal training programs complement each other perfectly, making companies smarter, faster and lighter on their feet.

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