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This is a series of Transform speaker spotlights ahead of Transform Virtual on June 21, 2018.


Shannon at a Glance

Title: Global Talent Strategist at Boeing and Founder of the 2050 Project

Favorite junk food: Dark chocolate Justin’s peanut butter cups

Beach or Mountains: Beach

What is your dream car? Tesla

Best way to spend a day off? Reading by a pool

Book that inspires you: The Fourth Industrial Revolution by Klaus Schwab, the founder of the World Economic Forum. He writes about 24 different trends in the book on everything from AI to the future of work. It inspires me to think bigger and as far into the future as possible.


Can you tell me a little bit about your background and what lead you to your current role at Boeing?

I started my career in HR, and after a couple of years in the space, I stumbled into talent technology around 2006. My timing was perfect. This was the time when companies were really starting to invest in ATSs and other talent technology systems. Back then, this stuff was all new, and very few people knew how to get into the backend of these tools and really understand how they worked. I took this as an opportunity for me to dive into analytics and play around with the data.

More recently, I worked in talent technology and operations at GM, where I worked on talent operations in 25 countries, giving me valuable global experience. From there I was looking to take a more strategic role, and that’s how I found Boeing.


Tell me about your passion project, The 2050 Project, and why you decided to start it.

 The 2050 Project is an information platform I created to shed light on the forces changing the way we work. I started it because I believe there are a number of key macroeconomic trends across the globe and US that aren’t being communicated to the masses. The news today is focused on finance, politics and local events, but there’s a lot of really crucial information missing that I want to make available to people.

My main focus areas with this project are AI and automation, consumer debt and finances, rapidly aging population, urbanization, work, and humans’ diminishing attention spans. These topics are simply not being broadcasted or synthesized at a large scale. We need to teach people what is going on, what the future looks like, and what they can do about it. My goal is to disseminate critical information to enable business professionals to make informed decisions.



Why do you think it’s important to think about the future of talent today?

 It’s never too early to think about the future of talent – if I could rewind and talk about this 5 years ago, I would. The entire talent landscape is shifting, and too many Fortune 500 organizations are years behind thinking about what that means.

A common example of this shift is the average tenure of a millennials. We know that millennials typically spend less than 3 years in a job, whereas prior generations spent 20, 30, sometimes even 40 years in one role. Although a lot of people know this to be true, they aren’t thinking about what it means. For example, most companies attract to hire and retain. But why is that still the goal when we know tenures are getting shorter? We know today’s candidates don’t want to stay in a job for 30 years. So it begs the question, should our strategy still be attract to hire and retain? Or should we be thinking about project-based hiring? Really understanding the trends, and the implications they have for talent acquisition is so important to successful hiring and the long-term well being of your business.


What do you think the future of talent acquisition looks like?

 The future of talent is flexible and agile. I think you’ll see more short tenure assignments instead of the traditional career path, flexible hours, flexible work arrangements like remote work. Something that I personally hope to see is an increase in global assignments outside of the traditional expat program. I would love to see opportunities for people to self-rotate through remote work months abroad. For example, an employee could work from Argentina for a month remotely then head back to the office for the next month.

I think the recruiting model itself will change too. I see a shift from talent competition to talent collectives, or companies sharing talent. For example, three or four companies work together to build one big, shared talent pipeline. The candidates have the opportunity to build their careers in this collective of organizations – they put in 3 years at one company, 3 years at another, 3 years at the third. Succeeding in 2050 comes down to thinking outside the box to recruit in a way that takes current trends and the needs of candidates into consideration when planning your strategy.


Why did you decide to speak at Transform Virtual?

Transform Victual’s objectives align with what I’m trying to do with the 2050 project. You can’t transform talent if you aren’t keeping an eye on the trends and really understanding them. The Transform community gets that and is all about the technology and the trends shaping recruitment marketing. I want to connect with my peers to talk about this stuff and get people to broaden their thinking and really prepare for the future of talent acquisition.


How can talent acquisition teams prepare to recruit in 2050?

Paying attention to trends is key. When you look to 2050, some trends are clearer and more actionable than others. For example, you can prepare for an aging workforce. Aging is guaranteed, and we know that to fight that, we need to attract the next generation of talent. Its murkier to predict what the talent world will look like in 2050. There’s an estimate that says over their careers, Millennials and Generation Z will have 14 jobs for an average tenure of 3 years across a variety of industries. That’s something we haven’t been up against before, and it’s something that doesn’t come with a foolproof strategy.

The key for success here is to find the longest-term trends you can and act on them. Those will be your best bet for crafting talent strategies that will get you ahead. No one has a crystal ball, but if you pay attention, you will find insight that you can use to shape your strategy.


What piece of advice would you give to recruitment marketers?

Do whatever you can to break your traditional way of thinking about talent. If you’re in recruitment marketing, you want to inform people of current trends and stats, but it’s also important to push people to think in new ways. Don’t just regurgitate what others are saying – be original and be a thought leader.


Don’t miss Shannon’s session, The 2050 Project: What Will You Do to Change the Future of Work? At Transform Virtual on June 21. For more information on The 2050 Project, click here.

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