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Three podcast episodes to tackle today’s talent challenges

Three conversations to help leaders traverse the talent-centric challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and the future of work.
Bryan Hancock

Supports private, public, and social sector clients through expertise in talent management, organizational design, and workforce development

Bill Schaninger

Designs and manages large-scale organizational transformations, strengthening business performance through enhanced culture, values, leadership, and talent systems

COVID-19 has dramatically altered the talent landscape. Paradoxically, unemployment rates remain remarkably high even as organizations struggle to address emerging skills gaps associated with the future of work. Now more than ever, talent must be central to leaders’ decision making.

We created the McKinsey Talks Talent Podcast to help leaders navigate this fast-changing landscape and prepare for the future of work by making talent a competitive advantage. Our conversations have addressed many of the most pressing talent issues faced by leaders and their organizations. Here are three recent discussions that have centered on challenges that have only grown during the pandemic.

  1. Preparing your team for the future of work

    While technology-driven changes such as artificial intelligence and automation were on the rise prior to 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic further drove their rapid adoption across all industries. As organizations capitalize on technology to streamline processes and cut costs, reskilling talent to fill emerging skills shortages becomes essential.

    We discuss how to best prepare for this new world of work in this podcast episode that, although recorded just before the start of the pandemic, still rings true. We address reskilling, why leaders should make it a priority now, and how they can get started to better position their organizations—and their people—for future success.


  2. Talking about complex feelings at work

    As a result of the pandemic, organizations have an increased focus on health and wellness efforts as part of the employee experience. Many leaders are charting new emotional territories as their employees—and even the leaders themselves—work through complex feelings associated with COVID-19. In fact, a survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that nearly 41 percent of American adults struggle with mental health issues stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.

    It was previously an unspoken rule to not discuss complex emotions at work. But the norms are changing. This podcast episode addresses the new expectations of the workplace and leadership, including embracing authenticity, humility, and flexibility to create a safe space for employees who are processing grief, experiencing loss, and seeking balance.


  3. The case for the embattled middle manager

    “Flatter, faster, leaner” has proven the mantra of many organizations during COVID-19. Early into the pandemic, leaders had to make quick decisions with limited input. After all, the delay of a decision can be more destructive to an organization than making the wrong one. This newfound speed left many asking, “Why can’t we do this all the time?” However, it may be hasty to champion the obsolescence of the middle manager just yet. In this podcast episode, we delve into what organizations might stand to lose in a flatter future.

    While enticing, the notion of eliminating whole swaths of middle management and emerging flatter and faster can have long-term impacts on how an organization operates in regular times. In this episode, we address the many benefits to having middle management distributed throughout an organization, from helping to reenergize the workforce in difficult times to establishing a pipeline of future leaders.

For these insights and more, tune in to the McKinsey Talks Talent Podcast.

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