With the clocks going back and the trees turning beautiful hues of red and orange, there is no denying that the seasons are changing. And like the noticeable season shifts, there is an undeniable shift in the way we all approach Careers.

Last week I attended a Talent Breakfast Seminar, kindly hosted by #LHHPenna. During this I was reminded of the stark reality that young talent (identified in this research as up to 30; sorry folks, the rest of us are over the hill!), will only stay in a role for an average 27 months.* Despite it being a room full of Learning & Development professionals, people who should have their fingers firmly on the pulse with this, there was much gasping. And it’s not surprise when you consider the costs of developing an individual and also those of recruiting and onboarding someone new every 27 months (an ever decreasing amount as well).

So as changing roles, portfolio careers and a greater acceptance of career movers becomes the norm, how do organisations adapt to this? Looking back at the Autumn trees for inspiration, as leaves fall to the ground, trees are ‘smart’ enough to often already be producing new leaves or perhaps buds for the future. The dropped leaves are also creating a more fertile environment for next season’s leaves.

What can organisations learn from this? Development of staff has long been shown as a great way to generate high performing and engaged teams, with experienced members of staff being encouraged to leave a legacy. And yet many still don’t do it, or if they do, it is in an ad hoc way, probably just in the classroom and usually as a result of something that has gone wrong. A strategic organisational plan that includes a clear idea of succession planning is essential if an organisation is to survive, and thrive, in this changing work environment. Whilst traditionally reference to ‘succession planning’ was specifically talking about leadership positions, if an organisation is to achieve its goals, it needs the whole talent pipeline from entry level roles to executive leadership positions, included in a strategic plan for talent mapping and development. And it can’t be done alone, other strategy such as leadership and management programmes and People Strategy, employee engagement and organisational culture will all form part of this. It’s perhaps no wonder organisations often shy away from having a cohesive approach to this but without it, they can’t successfully support their biggest asset; their staff.

Not only is the overarching talent strategy important, how to enable users to access it is also key. Again, looking at the research* on young talent coming into the workforce, it has been identified that this talent is made up of digital natives. This was brought into full focus for me when taking a photo to accompany this post. My young niece was right there, designing Social Media worthy pictures for me; I’ll leave it up to you to decide if she achieved it (to be fair to her, I wasn’t the best model)! But it is a stark reminder of the fact that a talent plan needs to be cyclical. Not only are we developing talent for the future, passing on our legacy to those coming into the workplace, it is important to remember that the very talent which we aim to teach, have plenty of skills, ideas and enthusiasm that us, over the hill 30+ year olds, can also learn a great deal from. In order to fully utilise its talent, organisations need to capitalise on this.

And for individuals who are weighing up the upheaval of moving companies versus development opportunities where you are, it is well worth having an open and honest conversation with your employer about options. Organisations do not want to lose you and if you work collaboratively with them, your future careers seasons might be nothing but sunny!

Want to know more on this topic or feel that your organisation needs support in designing a way of mapping your talent and designing a succession planning strategy? Drop me a DM or email me at askthetalentcycle@outlook.com to talk through the options. I’d also be delighted to hear from you if you’re an individual looking for someone who can support you achieve your goals in your portfolio career.

*research by the very talented Burak Koyuncu, PhD, Workforce Solutions director at LHH Penna.