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The Future of Talent – Unpacking the Changing Landscape of Human Capital

A Breakfast Seminar with a Difference.

Clarkhouse Human Capital was the mastermind behind an intimate discussion between some of the top thought leaders and innovation pioneers in South Africa and abroad. An exclusive “by invitation only” event held on Thursday 22nd October at the elegant Private Room Conference Centre in Kyalami, hosted some of South Africa's top CFO’s, CEO’s, Human Capital Strategists and Talent Directors at a thought provoking breakfast gathering.

This event provided a platform for exceptional guest speakers such as Martijn Aslander, a leading explorer of the information age and highly sought after advisor by corporates to future-proof their businesses, who came all the way from the Netherlands. Suzan Brigante a fascinating inventor who leads a crowd-powered innovation company that consults to Fortune 500 companies around the world, joined us from Silicone Valley, USA. Richard Mulholland, from SA’s largest presentation firm Missing Link, engaged the audience with his off-the-wall, thought provoking content and Richard Warren-Tangney, owner and director of strategic-level consultancy firm, Féinics, discussed the role of Gamification in future focused corporates as well as how companies are currently getting it so wrong.

MC for the morning was Graham Fehrsen who is currently CEO of the CFO Foundation of South Africa. Grahams intense understanding of the topic and people involved allowed for a smooth and impactful morning.

Roy Clark, Managing Director of Clarkhouse Human Capital, opened the event by introducing the esteemed speakers and welcoming all of the attendees. Roy’s vision for this event was to bring future-focused speakers in front of major corporate decision makers in order to assist a change in mind set of where “human capital of the future” is heading as well as why it is so important to understand this fundamental shift. Was he successful? Only time will tell.

First speaker Richard Warren-Tangney dropped the proverbial “How did it go so horribly wrong?” bomb, and no he wasn’t talking about the Japan vs. SA Rugby match. What Richard was highlighting was how recruitment processes in businesses have failed, how the talent acquisition process is arrogant as well as how Africa is incorrectly treated as a whole. So what are the solutions? Businesses should consider Gamification as an interview technique where people draw on their instinctive human spirit to win. What can be garnered from this is an understanding of collaboration, networking and problem solving abilities in a live setting. Richards overarching message was to stop recruiting for skill and experience and start recruiting for how people react in circumstances as well as for attitude.

Next was Suzan Brigante – CEO of Totem Inc. Suzan’s very clear message of “Innovators are hiding in your payroll” brought the topic of how to access talent nuggets of gold within your organisation to the fore and how to empower them to create, innovate and grow your business. Suzan has very successfully developed a unique patent-pending process for scalable innovation crowdsourcing and consulted this process to Fortune 500 companies around the world. Suzan has discovered that people fall into one of eight innovation skill clusters. They either drive, disrupt, create, connect, control, think, deliver or give. A future-focused organisation will see these talent pools differently and adjust their recruiting methods to harness and maximise these skills.

Richard Mulholland – Owner of Missing Link, public speaker and guest lecturer turned the morning on its head. Richard’s colourful, direct and brazen argument was that perhaps the best brands out there have got it right. Johnnie Walker’s “Keep Walking” was the example used to summarise that even with the absolute information overload and an obsession to change, change and change again, perhaps “what the world needs is to stick to their guns a little more”. How does this translate to future focused talent? In Richard’s opinion this means that people want autonomy and stability in their jobs. They are settling down and starting families at a later age and because of this the solid, stable and loyal employees are often those in their late 30’s, early 40’s and onwards. Richard’s methodology is not focused on how to attract talent but rather on how to keep great talent.

Finally Martijn Aslander took to the microphone (surprising that this wasn’t already embedded under his skin like the chip he currently has in his wrist), to completely blow the minds of the already stunned audience. Martijn is an expert in life-hacking i.e. making daily processes sleeker, more efficient and less time consuming thereby increasing time spent in other, more productive areas. Martijn’s disruptive views on social, human and information capital has allowed him to develop ways for organisations to innovate without money, which means innovating without risk, which leads to faster growth of solutions to everyday problems. How does this happen? Martijn believes in the intense power of a network organisation and the compounding effect that each new member has, as well as how effective it is without a centralised leader, think Wikipedia for example. But apart from all the business speak Martijn made us realise in a very confusing way where the future is heading. Storing data in DNA, Biohacking, free electricity in 30 years as well as eliminating the need for 70% of corporates in 10 years’ time creates a very different world to live in. Successful organisations in his view are exponential organisations, who grow on a network. Martijn’s view on talent? “Hire for attitude, train for skills”, “the best solutions for one field, always come from another” and "understand the power of serendipity".

The discussion was then opened to the floor for questions and answers and the event ended with a solid round of networking by quite visibly flabbergasted yet well fed, future-focused guests. 

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