Daily Archives: February 22, 2008

The “Talent” Game

Today I’d like to welcome Don Dougherty, a Partner with SupplyStaff and Denali Consulting.

In today’s global economy, hiring and retaining top talent is a driving concern of corporate and human capital management professionals. Escalating retirement rates are looming, fewer resources are entering the job market than in previous generations, and required skills sets are more sophisticated than ever before. The end result is a tighter market for top-tier professionals and unprecedented challenges for organizations in the area of skills development, retention and recruiting. It is on every executive’s agenda.

What should companies be doing now, before it’s too late? We see development of a “talent strategy” emerging as a key business consideration…leading companies are determining what skills they have, what skills they will need, and how best to retain or obtain those skills. They are then executing aggressively on that strategy. Is your company? Here are some learning’s from those having success navigating the talent battlefield.

Determine the Real Needs
Executives always state they want the best professionals that the market will bear for their organization, but often times too little thought is given to what that is. Assessing what the organization actually needs in terms of skills, knowledge, and ultimately talent, is the first step; not only for now, but for the future.

Identify Current Skill Sets in the Organization
Assessing the organization’s skills may seem like a daunting task, but with a focused effort, some planning and follow through, it can be done relatively quickly. After first determining who will be in the assessment group, a combination of internal interviews, online skills testing, and performance reviews can help you identify and summarize your current organizational skill base. Identify systematic organizational gaps, as well as individual gaps.

Develop a Strategy to Fill the Talent Gap
Once the desired mix of competencies is determined, it must then be assessed whether the talent gap is something that can be trained or developed internally, recruited, or a combination of the two. Filling the talent gap is more of an art than a science, but is typically done through the two primary mechanisms; talent development and talent acquisition. Here is where the company or organization leadership team plays a key role, determining the right mix. Management will often have to make the tough call…understanding where development efforts stop and where recruitment begins.

Train and Retain
Studies have shown that companies with the best retention practices outperform the Dow, NASDAQ, and S&P500. Surprisingly though, we see it’s not the things that have never been thought of before that hold the most promise, but rather the things we knew we should be doing but have not been applying enough. The simple answer – train and develop a creative culture. To fill at least part of that talent void, employees of leading companies are completing extensive training courses & seminars to develop today’s needed skills and abilities. Additionally, talent gaps are being filled by focusing on interpersonal skills, including communication, teaming, innovativeness, and leadership. Ultimately a learning environment is provided where individuals are engaged in their own development and are rewarded for the right behavior. When employees are unwilling to change or grow, another position or even another organization might present a better fit.

Recruit the Difference
To truly transform and operate competitively, companies in all industries, and of all sizes, are aggressively recruiting the best and brightest…and it is sometimes easier and quicker to hire than to develop. While some companies continue to take on this effort themselves, many are soliciting the help of outside experts to help in the process, or take it over completely. Sources say the recruitment outsourcing market in the U.S. is expected to grow at an annual rate exceeding 20%. The strongest areas of growth are expected to be in the areas of recruiting, education and training, and personnel administration —essentially those areas having the biggest impact on overall competitiveness.

The new corporate organization is facing unprecedented demands made upon them by their customers, suppliers, senior management and themselves. While there are many efforts that management may pursue in the quest for competitive success, few are more important than having the right people with the right skills. Bottom line – be proactive in your task to build the right mix of talent.