We are currently in the midst of an age driven by talent—one that can be attributed to the rapidly evolving, complex challenges being faced by organizations.

Stiff competition and technological innovations such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality, augmented reality and the Internet of Things are rendering numerous long-standing business models obsolete. Essentially, this means that people need to acquire new skills, demonstrate flexibility and adapt to potentially substantial changes to their job responsibilities.

At the same time, competition for people with the right skill sets, who are capable of generating new ideas and formulating innovative solutions to complex problems, is rising.

More than ever, talent is playing a salient role in future-proofing businesses. In this ever-changing environment, companies will need to focus on three primary areas in order to recruit, retain and prepare people for the challenges that lie ahead: establishing direction, building value-adding skills for the future and offering impactful work opportunities.

One of the most powerful means by which companies can motivate people is to clearly articulate the new organizational direction within the context of change and disruption.

Establishing a common purpose or a shared goal, enables employees at every level of the organization to envisage the company’s future and how their roles fit within it.

This transcends financial goals and, in many cases, is far more effective in motivating people than monetary rewards, particularly where millennials are concerned.

According to Deloitte’s Millennial Survey 2015, two thirds of those surveyed cited an organization’s sense of purpose as being the number one reason in selecting a potential employer.

The report polled the leaders of tomorrow on effective leadership and how businesses operate and impact society.

While having people who possess the right skill sets is crucial, building value-adding skills for the future is equally pivotal. To that effect, organizations must take a long-term view towards developing people by introducing very specific, relevant and dynamic learning and coaching programs that go hand in hand with the new direction.

Adapting to digitization, for example, relies heavily on employees’ mastery over data and their ability to analyze and translate this into actionable information. More importantly, for learning initiatives to be truly effective, they must be implemented and updated continuously, covering every level of the organization.

Numerous programs aim to build a robust pipeline of leaders and innovators from within. These include in-house analytics and technology initiatives, which deliver several education programs, to enhance employee understanding of how analytics and data intelligence can be used to improve the delivery of unique and engaging customer experiences.

These programs typically encompass modules such as the importance of data collection, classification and assessment, the basics of coding and algorithms and the visualization of analytics.

Establishing a clear direction and a common purpose is only effective if people are involved in opportunities where they can create value within their scope of work.

Although the definition of what constitutes value-creating work may vary from one person to another, according to a survey by LinkedIn, employees are drawn to challenging opportunities that allow them to use their skills.

It is no surprise then, that meaningful value-creating work opportunities help eliminate career stagnation and monotony, while contributing to higher employee retention rates.

By 2025, millennials will account for roughly 75% of the global workforce; and technology and innovation will have dramatically altered the business landscape as we know it.

Against this backdrop, by institutionalizing a common purpose and adopting a talent-driven approach early on, organizations will drive sustained success and future-proof their businesses.

Attracting, developing and retaining highly talented people needs to be a top priority for every organization, and the right talent with the right skills will future-proof your business.

Darryl Michael Speach, Chief Learning Officer, Majid Al Futtaim