Q&A with Talent Management board member David DeFilippo

David DeFilippo, principal coach and consultant at DeFilippo Leadership Inc., gives his top of mind thoughts on the present and future of the industry.

  1. What is top of mind for you in the talent management space today? 

So No. 1, I’d say the remaining impacts of the shift in the workforce to more remote and more hybrid work. And the fact that, in my opinion, we’re not going back to the way it was in a normal office environment. No. 2 would be how that impacts the way managers have to manage their teams, motivate their teams, reward their teams, all toward the goal of how to be productive, how to be healthy as a team, and how to align those teams that are now more a bit more fluid and more more dispersed to still reach and meet company objectives. And the third point I’d make is, in my view, I think that the skill set of managers. It’s a harder job now to have to do that, and the skill set of managers has to change to adjust to that new reality in the workforce today.

  1. What challenges are coming in the future of talent management?

I can kind of see a world where things like the advent of ChatGPT are going to change the way people do work, like the way practitioners do work. That’s both an opportunity and a challenge. And the reason I say that it’s an opportunity, because it’s potentially a great way to automate something that people used to do. But I also think it’s going to create some dislocation with regard to the number of people you need to do that, the types of people you need to do those jobs and change, it’ll probably gradually change sort of the model within a function like talent acquisition. 

  1. What current trend will benefit organizations in the long run?

One of the other trending topics is the solutions, if you will, that are self-service. Microlearning, like short bursts of learning that can be used in the moment of need. And it’s been interesting for me to kind of experience that because we used to do things like a one-day course. And I found myself through the transition of the workforce during the pandemic doing a lot of virtual kind of 90-minute or two-hour courses with people. And now I’m hearing more and more of an interest in, ‘Hey, could you take the Zoom that you did and record it and make it into a 15-minute module?’ So it’s kind of like a great refresher or a great thing to use as prework. They’re just really interesting, because in my experience in the last year, it’s been more pronounced than ever in the past.

  1. What advice would you give up-and-coming leaders in talent management?

My advice would be for talent management leaders to take the time, upfront in their roles, to really understand the business drivers, so that they can understand both the behavior of and the capabilities needed within their organizations so that some of the practices and the solutions they develop are focused in a laser like way on the needs of the organization. If you do that well, it’s essentially having a strategy that makes sense, whether you’re virtual, whether you’re all in the office, whether you’re hybrid doesn’t really matter, because it’s all about ensuring that the talent management and the human capital functions are squarely aligned with where the business is going, not where the business has been.

  1. What are your hopes for the future of talent management?

As a strategic agenda item, talent is probably the most important thing that any organization needs to focus on. And that’s an obvious thing to say, but the way I see it manifesting itself in organizations is when organizations don’t take the time to think about strategy, structure and talent, and they hire people because they compromise and make a decision that may be short-sighted – it inevitably catches up with them, whether it takes six months, a year or two years. So being diligently focused on getting those hiring decisions is extremely important because of the way that a bad hiring decision flows through an organization. My hope is that organizations are less transactional about this and more strategic and that human capital practitioners can put themselves in the place of having the most influence and leverage in those organizations.