4 TED Talks That Anyone Focusing on Workforce Planning Should Watch

3 minutes • Jun 25, 2018

Since they became free and accessible online beginning in 2006, TED talks now number over 2,700 and cover a range of topics, from business to world culture, and many subjects in between. The delivery of insightful, inspiring ideas via short talks captured on video has garnered over 3 million views a day from around the world.

TED talks can be particularly helpful for professionals who are busy focusing on how to hire and structure the organization to successfully meet current and future talent needs. Here are 4 TED talks that cover topics ranging from how individuals are organized in the workplace to designing remote work teams for maximum productivity:

1. Margaret Heffernan, “Forget the Pecking Order at Work

A common pick on many “best TED talks” lists, Heffernan uses what she calls the Superchicken Model to explain how teams of top performers can compete with each other to the point of “pecking” themselves to death and killing their productivity. Conversely, she argues that individuals perform best when they’re organized in teams that value multiple viewpoints and have a culture of collaboration and trust between members.

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Heffernan’s talk holds particular relevance for organizations that are planning teams as well as deciding who should lead those teams. The long and short of Heffernan’s advice: the next time you’re planning changes to the org chart, consider not just reporting relationships, but also the composition of the team and how to help individuals learn from and connect with each other.

2. Rainer Strack, “The Workforce Crisis of 2030 – and How to Start Solving it Now

Strack, a global HR leader and consultant, explains in his TED talk that by 2030, global job markets will be transformed by the large-scale retirement of baby boomers (individuals born in the 1940s through the early 1960s). In addition, he argues that robots and AI technology will increasingly replace many of the positions that today can only be performed by humans.

As organizations plan for these future workforce changes, Strack says that companies who will thrive in 2030 and beyond will be those who consider hiring from the global talent market, including hiring remote workers across borders. Remote and other alternative work arrangements can present cultural and other challenges for companies, but with live org chart technology that helps bring remote workers together and helps them know where they fit in the organization, Strack’s vision may be achievable after all.

3. David Logan, “Tribal Leadership

In his TED talk, Logan explains how individuals naturally organize themselves into “tribes,” or groups of 20 to 150 people based on shared talents, interests, and beliefs. He goes on to say that it is within tribes—some simple and some complex—that all important work is accomplished and societies and organizations are built. According to Logan, the key differentiator between tribes is their culture—the attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors that define them.

For anyone working in workforce planning, Logan’s talk helps to underscore the importance of team culture and having the right person (or people) lead each team within the organization. Live org chart technology can not only help provide multiple planning views of team structure; it also helps workforce planning through features that allow shared roles and dotted-line leadership.

4. Jason Fried, “Why Work Doesn’t Happen at Work

Coauthor of the book Rework and champion of web-based collaboration tools, Fried points to research and other evidence supporting his theory that people’s best work doesn’t happen in the office. According to Fried, individuals are most productive while alone in a private room, at home, or even on a moving train. If he’s right, this presents all sorts of workforce planning implications for how to design workspaces and how to find ways to give employees more quiet time. It could also change the way employees collaborate beyond face-to-face meetings (which Fried argues are the biggest distraction to productivity and innovation in the workplace). It’s true that collaboration and team-building don’t only happen in meetings. Tools like live org chart technology, for example, provide an array of options that help individuals find coworkers on other teams and get to know each other when face-to-face isn’t an option.

Workforce planning, by definition, is forward-looking. It involves anticipating organizational needs and the talent required to meet those needs. In addition to the many resources available to help support effective org design and workforce planning, TED talks include some real gems that can offer new insights and creative solutions to the talent management challenges of today and tomorrow.

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