Q&A: TalentEd Matters’ Jewel Celestine

Talent Management board member Jewel Celestine, founder and executive and organizational coach at TalentEd Matters shares her insights on talent management today.

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

I’ve been looking at different articles and things like conversations I’ve been part of. And top of mind for me has been this idea of — and it’s been around forever — this idea of a skill shortage or skills gap. For the future, when we hear about AR, AI, artificial intelligence, there’s this concern around it. And this concern, again, has been around forever. “Will machines replace humans?” And so I’ve been doing a lot of reading recently around that and answering this idea that we just have to be prepared. Viewing AI as more of an augmentation and not a replacement of employees is definitely the path that I’m following. And then really looking at what skills we need to develop within our employees and focusing on that. And I think that touches on some other areas. Again, how do we engage? And how do we retain employees? One of the key ways of doing that is skill development and providing opportunities for them in the workplace.

Jewel Celestine. Photo by Margo Moritz.
  1. What challenges are coming in the future of talent management?

Because of AI and just a lot of change — and there’s tons of things just because of the pandemic — this whole idea of remote work vs. hybrid work vs. being back at the office. A lot of these challenges come down to right fit, right people, right skills for an organization and for jobs. And so a key challenge is really trying to figure out what are the skills — the future skills that are needed within an organization. And there’s some general ones that go across the board. We need to focus on people being coachable as well as leaders being able to coach others. Data literacy is definitely a key thing too. So yes, we have AI coming in. But people need to be able to understand and leverage the information and the benefits that come out of AI, and be able to take the insights, the data from that, and now take it one step further. And they are able to glean some insights from the data that comes out of that. So those are some challenges of the future.

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

I’m really excited about some work that I’ve been hearing across the board around providing an internal marketplace, which also comes from this idea of why would an employee want to join your organization. To do that, it’s making sure you’re providing an environment of constant opportunities and career development. And so an internal marketplace is a great way of looking and assessing the skills that you actually have in place. Leveraging those skills, and getting people to work on different projects, short-term projects, and trying to really leverage those skills that you have in-house. It also helps develop some of those skills. And it also lets employees and organizations know what are the skills that are missing currently in the organization. That definitely helps us figure out what the gaps are. We have to go and get those to really bridge that gap. So what are the skills that we do not currently have? How do we develop it in our current people? And do we have to look elsewhere for some of those skills as well?

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

The same advice for all employees — we need to stay skilled, stay marketable. See ahead of some of these challenges and trends and really be a voice in some of these conversations. And so when I look at data literacy and using AI toward that, HR professionals or talent management professionals should really look at, “OK, how can we leverage AI? How can we be at the leading edge, or how can AI be used in the talent management space?” Data literacy is really important. Helping leaders be good leaders is definitely something that upcoming professionals should focus on. So really focusing on developing leaders and being a coach. Coaching is really important. And so being able to coach leaders, being an executive coach, also coaching up-and-coming managers and coaching teams is really a great skill for talent management professionals to focus on.

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

I would love us to be at the table as an informed advisor on how to address the skills gap. That’s definitely something that’s top of mind for a lot of people, not just talent management professionals, but leaders of organizations, CEOs. Do we have the right people or do we have the right skills to really deliver on our business strategies? Having talent management professionals, being able to be a key advisor, a key voice, in that conversation and coming up with some of the answers and some great initiatives around addressing that skills gap.

This Q&A with Talent Management board member Jewel Celestine, founder and executive and organizational coach at TalentEd Matters, was originally included in the “Trending” section of the December 2023 Talent Management print edition.