Here are the top news stories in talent and organization from this week.

Top traits of an agile leader 

Traditional leadership models are becoming quickly outdated in the age of digital disruption, argues Michael Barry in this IB Madison blog, and says 10 progressive qualities “are critical to attaining speed, efficiency, creativity, innovation and results.” Among them are: Problem solving (challenging the status quo), transparency (engenders trust), adaptability (using strong inter-personal and cross-cultural skills), empathy (boosts staff performance and morale), and engagement (joining teams in the trenches to inspire them to unleash their passions and talents around a shared vision). “The ivory tower must crumble,” writes Barry and adds, “Organizations need to get this right because two most important stakeholder groups—customers and employees—have high expectations for leaders.”

Will AI end recruitment agencies?

The magic weapon for companies wanting to attract top talent used to be contracting a recruitment agency. Well, not anymore, according to David Bernard, CEO of AssessFirst. The proliferation of online job boards, the fast rise of LinkedIn and assessment science “signaled the end of the party,” he says, and artificial intelligence stands to do even more damage to recruiting agencies. “What’s the use of a recruiting consultant’s super power to conduct a hyper-structured interview when an AI can deliver more than 60 pages of analysis about 200 candidates, in a matter of seconds? Or when it’s capable, with two additional seconds to create a shortlist of the bests of them?” Bernard asks and claims recruitment agencies have a lot of work to do to survive the “greatest hiring revolution of all time.”

Closing the gender gap in tech

The editorial board of Bloomberg took an in-depth look at the gender gap in technology jobs and took the bold (albeit obvious) stance that the reason is “not because women can’t do math or are biologically unsuited to the tasks,” but rather because “they haven’t been shown in a consistent and forthright way why they should want the jobs.” The editors make the argument that technology companies need to “recognize, measure and counteract implicit and explicit bias, by genuinely welcoming female interviewees, and by closing the pay gap.” We were delighted to see they chose to highlight our efforts at Accenture: “aiming to achieve a 50-50 male-female workforce by 2025, has, in India, created a women-only career track for technical architects, in the U.S. established a rule that new parents—fathers and mothers alike—not travel for work for the first year.”

HR Tech can stop wasteful communication 

Inadequate business communication costs companies $11,000 per employee, according to a study by Mitel. Why is it so costly? TalentCulture’s Stuart Hern offers the following explanation: “Miscommunication can cause stress and frustration, poor decision making, legal disputes, reduced productivity, mistrust, absenteeism, high turnover, low morale, and reduced innovation.” HR technology can step into facilitate communication throughout an organization in various ways, Hern writes. Replacing workplace emails with team collaboration tools such as Slack; using a platform like Teamwork to set up tasks, instructions and deadlines; providing feedback through performance review software; and tracking goal progression are just a few of the ways HR Tech can enhance workplace communication and reduce inefficiencies.

An open-minded approach to hiring

In a full-employment economy, many organizations are facing the challenges of finding good talent and realizing the top talent almost always has other employment options, writes Mark Greenberg for ATD. Here are his top tips for a better hiring and development approach to remain competitive in today’s workforce marketplace: 1) Cast a broad net (consider candidates with different backgrounds), 2) Be clear on must-haves (list the essentials of the position), 3) Embrace employee development (skill gaps are OK, as long as there ways to fill them), 4) Focus on retention (keep employees engaged), 5) Move quickly (when candidates have offers pending it’s important to avoid costly delays).

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