Talent management these days is all about being proactive. With techniques like proximity management and continuous feedback, the new watchword is “real time,” so you can be present when it matters.

The corporate world, like everything else, has been shaken up by the digital revolution, and that means we need solutions that can keep up. Being reactive isn’t enough. You need to be highly responsive so you can stay on top of workplace issues and nip problems in the bud.

We’re talking about a radical evolution in HR and talent management: shifting the focus to your workforce. What role do employees play in the success of your business? What are their needs? Are you giving them effective ways to communicate… and are you hearing them?

Employees these days expect more from HR: more acknowledgement and more engagement. Focusing on their needs is a healthy shift towards a new way of doing business, and with new HR tools entering the market, organizations are readying themselves for the challenge.

Rethinking the employee experience

Ask employees why they’re dissatisfied or disengaged, and you hear the same things time and again: lack of recognition (40% of employees feel that they’re not getting enough acknowledgement, according to the latest annual study by Malakoff Mederic) and lack of feedback from management. According to a recent Gallup poll, managers are the number one reason why employees quit. Bad Boss or doormat, too picky or not supportive enough, it turns out management is the main cause of talent loss.

But let’s not be too quick to judge. Managers have no choice but to work in a flawed system they didn’t create, and we expect them to be the ones to reform it. Bad managers aren’t responsible for wasting talent: bad management is.

The major issue that feeds into the employee experience is timing: our management frameworks create delays between event and response. The way to correct course is by getting ahead of what employees need, when they need it.

A lot of businesses still perform evaluations and employee satisfaction surveys on a yearly or twice-yearly basis. They’re required, and they’re definitely important, but they’re not enough to stay on top of employee concerns. What matters to the employee experience is being able to give and receive direct, frequent feedback, even if it’s just on their mood of the day, their weekly objectives or monthly results.

Why work in real time?

What employees want are real time tools that respond to their daily need for acknowledgement and feedback. They want the ability to communicate about what is and isn’t working so they feel heard and know what managers want.

Why wait weeks to congratulate a colleague on how she managed a difficult project? Or why wait until an annual review to raise an issue that’s been bothering you for months? Wouldn’t it be better to deal with it right away?

Real time tools let you nip problems in the bud. More importantly, they let you build long-term engagement. You don’t run away from potential conflicts, and you don’t let your colleagues build up long-term resentments.

Unlike a fixed yearly review, real time tools let you adapt your HR solutions to company needs. They remove vertical obstacles and rigid HR timeframes so you can directly engage with your workforce at the best time.

The logic of real time is that it lets you keep up with what’s happening so you can respond at the right time. You don’t have to deal with everything the second it happens. Instead, it’s about keeping employees engaged and dealing with issues before they blow up.

With real time tools, you can replace the bad management habits that are failing to connect. Mandatory meetings and reviews twice a year aren’t cutting it. When employees don’t communicate with managers on a regular basis, they might see annual meetings as an opportunity to vent, or worse, they just don’t engage. The typical feedback process doesn’t meet their needs.

Gimme recognition

Dig deeper and you’ll find that most unhappy employees want nothing more than to be engaged and invested in the business. To them that means greater autonomy, responsibility — and recognition.

A happy workforce is a productive workforce, and engagement is the visible proof that employees feel acknowledged. But if you’re only giving them formal feedback and recognition a couple of times a year, can you blame them for not being invested?

With real time tools, you can master employee engagement and motivation to get the most out of your workforce. Working in real time means spending time on tasks with a high added value, so you can find a balance between recruiting and retaining talent.

When companies ignore a lack of workplace satisfaction or blame unhappy employees for not being more engaged, they fail to take action. The solution is to listen to what employees are saying and give them feedback right away.

In an era of constant likes and shares, it’s not surprising that employees are looking for instant recognition. On social media we’re expected to comment on photos, events or ideas as soon as they’re posted. We can complain about the fast pace or we can turn it into our greatest strength. All it takes is a desire to keep up.

Are you ready?

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