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The War for Talent is Winnable

There has been a lot of press recently (including in this publication) about how demographics are painting an ugly picture for any organization whose success depends on human capital. Simply put, the workforce in North America is shrinking as retirements outnumber new entries.

Virtually all executives are now aware of this coming talent shortage, but few know what to do about it. The days of success using traditional approaches to recruiting are over; attracting qualified applicants will require a more strategic approach.

Think it’s hard to find good help today? Fasten your seatbelt. This is just the beginning of a trend that will accelerate over the coming decades. This is not a recession we have to weather... this is going to be the new normal.

So how will you weather the storm? You can win the war for talent – you just need to act differently from your competition.

The secret to hiring – and keeping – great employees is not what most people think it is.

If your standard M.O. is to start from a résumé, think again. Sorry to say, the secret to hiring success is not education related. Nor is it about credentials, even in your industry. Or experience. Some of these factors may be important qualifiers, but not one of them is a reliable predictor of how well an employee will perform for you, or how long they will stay.

In First, Break All The Rules, the Gallup organization did an elegant job of documenting how and why productivity, retention, customer satisfaction and financial performance are actually outcomes, or trailing indicators… things that are not ends in and of themselves, but the natural result of a highly engaged team or department. They are, in fact, indicators of engagement.

The degree to which an employee is engaged in their job determines how long they will stay, how productive they will be, how happy your customers will be and how much money they will make you.

So how do we go about building engagement in order to achieve the outcomes we so desire? Not by mandating it, or even by asking for it. Engagement is itself the outcome of yet other things done well.  The single best predictor of how engaged a person will be is fit across four levels. In order of importance;

Plainly put, if you don’t place a premium on (and invest resources in) getting the fit right and if managers aren’t focused on using the tools at their disposal to build and nurture productive relationships with and between each of their people, you’ll never achieve and sustain the levels of engagement that are required to achieve your turnover, productivity, satisfaction and financial targets.

The cause-and-effect chain reaction is clear and well documented. The soft numbers are the leading indicators.









 

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