The War for Talent Continues

March 17, 2014

Talent war“We love the smell of HCM in the Morning.”

Not too long ago, I served on a panel and was asked what I thought were some of the top areas in Talent Management that companies are focusing on right now, given our current economic and business conditions.

While I think there are many areas that companies should focus their efforts on, namely around figuring out their long-term Human Capital Management (HCM) systems strategy, I decided to focus the answer around the so-called “war on talent”.

Today, the unemployment rate in the U.S. is anywhere between approximately 7%-16% depending on many factors – what expert you talk with, politics, geography, race, and a host of other ways to measure. However, when you focus specifically on “skilled labor”, that number hovers around 4% and since many economists believe that anything under 5% basically amounts to full employment, you can quickly see the problem, and it is only getting worse.

A few years ago, we published a groundbreaking report entitled “The Suite Life of Integrated Talent Management”, and in that report we stated:

“Organizations across the globe are concerned with finding enough skilled labor to accomplish their business objectives, given the potential of continuing talent shortages in critical skilled positions. Upcoming retirement of the Baby Boomer generation, changing demographics, and skills gaps due to education shortfalls all have the potential to dramatically impact an organization’s ability to attract, develop, and retain the right talent.

Over the past few years the world has gone through a significant period of economic turmoil that again, depending on who you talk with, is either continuing, getting worse, or getting better. So what is an organization to do? Arm your company with know-how and face the war on talent head-on!

Here are four “talent” areas to think about, in no particular order…

1)      Understanding your talent. Seems simple enough but many organizations simple don’t know what they currently have, and where those “rock stars” are within their own organization. Start by getting all data in one place (the talent profile), before any analysis can take place. Information such as internal & external work experience, aspirations, goals, motivations, preferences, assessment results, etc. Think about a person’s LinkedIn profile and a Facebook profile brought together in a talent record that is available to you. The Talent Profile has been a major trend of HCM vendors and something that needs critical attention paid to it.

2)      Reviewing your talent.  This can take many forms but start with the traditional and formal talent reviews. Many firms still do this once a year but organizations are increasingly looking at this differently (and should be). Start rating the performance of your employees, including the potential for flight risk and what that impact would have on the organization. Develop clear action lists for those employees you want to keep and manage out those you don’t.

3)      Reaching talent. This applies to both inside and outside your organization, and goes back to the Talent Profile in number 1 above. If you don’t know who and what you have, you will have a difficult time reaching that internal talent. In addition, leverage alumni networks as an example and cultivate talent ‘gardens’, i.e. tracking college & even pre-college potential talent. Remember, it’s a war out there so you need to cast a wide net and prepare to capture more than your competitors do!

4)      Assimilating talent. So you’ve found the “rock stars” you have been searching for. Now what. You need to ensure that your onboarding programs don’t wreck your carefully cultivated employment brand, but instead ‘lock in’ the new talent you have found. It’s vitally important to remember that the recruitment process is just the beginning of a new employee’s experience with your company. The initial excitement that new hires experience over starting a new job can quickly develop into frustration as they run into challenges in their desire to become acclimated with a new company and their desire to be productive in their new job and environment (something I would expect you want as well!) A very common frustration includes a lack of connection to their new company and its culture. Another challenge is in completing paperwork with poor instructions and yet another is simply the fact that most companies prepare poorly for a new employee’s first day. The list actually goes on and on…

Good luck and we hope this helps you better prepare for the ongoing war for talent!

Matt Lafata2

Matt has over 18 years in the HR industry and has been with HRchitect since 2004. As President, he oversees all aspects of HRchitect’s operations including worldwide sales of HRchitect services, marketing, customer success, partnerships, consulting, finance and corporate development.