3 Talent Trends HR Shares with The Winter Olympics

Kathy Rapp A.I., Candidate Pool, Change, Change Management, Communication, Contingent Workforce, Culture, Current Affairs, Diversity, Employee Engagement, Employee Relations, Harassment, HR, HR & Sports, Innovation, Job Market, Kathy Rapp, Leadership, Recruiting, Risks, Sexual Harassment, Talent Acquisition, Talent Strategy, War for Talent, Women in the Workplace

Ahhh.  The Olympics.  The beauty.  The drama.  The similarities to our work world.

The 2018 Winter Olympics are just beginning, but the anticipation of great competition and hyper-sports analogies are in full blast.  And all the Tonya and Nancy memories.  Seems like just yesterday.

Therefore, it’s only fitting to highlight the talent trends between our HR lives and the Olympic scene.

The New Events:  PyeongChang will debut some new events – Mixed doubles curling (can’t wait to see the outfits for this event); Mass-start speedskating (bound to draw some blood); and BIG-Air (160ft) snowboarding (because regular snowboarding isn’t dangerous enough).

The New Talent:  Internal freelancers, pop-up organizations, predictive analytics in hiring and planning, recruiting intact teams, and talent sharing among organizations.  These innovative approaches to talent will necessitate BIG changes in HR and overall people processes.  And we all know how adept most organizations are at change.  If over 50% of the workforce is on-demand, what happens to communication, culture and succession planning?

Frigid Temps:  No more tropic-like temps from Vancouver and Sochi; PyeongChang takes us back to Lillehammer in ’94.  A reading from the PyeongChang Olympic Stadium recently showed -8 degrees Fahrenheit. Polo Ralph Lauren will outfit Team USA in heated parkas powered by a battery pack.

Frigid Relations:  Like ice-cold temps, it’s gotten to be downright chilly in the workplace.  Salary history bans, dusting off sexual harassment training videos, increased focus and demand for D&I pros, and likely the death knell for anyone still hanging onto liquid lunches.  All of this means more focus, communication and work for HR to get relations back on track in order to attract and retain key talent.

No Age Limits on Talent:  The Olympics has no age limits.  Claudia Pechstein, German speedskater, is 45 and the first woman to compete in seven Olympics.  Americans Kelly Clark, Kikkan Randall and Shani Davis are all appearing in their fifth Olympics.  Vincent Zhou is the youngest U.S. Olympian at 17.

And since NHL players will not compete in the Olympics since ’94, Brian Gionta said buh-bye to NHL offers so he could return to the Olympics 12 years after his last appearance.

No Age Limits on Talent:  With skilled talent pools shrinking, low unemployment, stronger economic times, older workers leaving, younger workers avoiding corporations – the competition for talent is even more intense.  Data scientists and engineers to manage AI.  Workforce planners to manage on-demand talent and global mobility.  Marketers to keep potential talent, in addition to existing talent and customers, engaged.  HR will be in demand to harness all the necessary resources.

Just as exciting as the Olympics, these talent challenges and opportunities should get HR pros hyped up.  This is the time to shine and to arm your organization with every (legal) advantage possible.  What are you going to do about adapting to on-demand talent?  How do you ensure gender equality across your company?  And how will you address the shrinking talent pool effectively?

It seems the Olympics come around faster and faster every four years, even though the reality of time is the same.  For HR, the pace has picked up and we must face the talent challenges now.  Otherwise, they will quickly be on us out of nowhere, like a pipe to Nancy’s knee fast!

Kathy Rapp

Kathy Rapp is the CEO of hrQ where she helps companies find groovy HR Talent for permanent or project roles across the country. Prior to joining hrQ Kathy booked more than 15 years of diverse HR leadership experience working in F500s and start-up organizations. A connoisseur of the intersection between pop culture and business, Kathy believes many talent insights can be gleamed from the succession planning lessons experienced by Van Halen and AC/DC.