The War for Talent
Attracting, developing and retaining highly talented managers Ed Michaels, Helen Handfield-Jones and Beth Axelrod
Harvard Business School Press ISBN 1-57581-459-2
The war for talent
In the late nineties a lot of organizations had vacancies they couldn’t fill. Even after the dot-com bubble burst and the cooling off of the economy, this war for talent goes on. Talent is now the critical driver for corporate performance, especially people with the ability to lead a company or department, a production team or supervisors. Why the war will persist. 1. The irreversible shift from Industrial Age to Information Age. The importance of hard assets declined relative to the importance of intangible assets (brands, intellectual capital, talent). 2. Intensifying demand for high-caliber managerial talent. Managers who respond effectively to globalization, deregulation and technological advances are badly needed. 3. The growing propensity for people to switch from one company to another. The downsizes in the late 80s broke the traditional convenant that traded job security for loyalty. The abundance of jobs in the 90s made old taboos against jobhopping evaporating. A new approach to talent. If a company wants to win the war for managerial talent, it must act on following five imperatives: 1. Embrace a talent mindset. Building a talent pool is crucial. Leaders in successful companies have a passionate belief that great talent is required in order to have any aspirations in business. 2. Craft a winning employee value proposition. Companies should also create a clear, compelling reason why talented managers should join them and stay with them. People management should be addressed with the same vigor as customer management. 3. Rebuild recruiting strategy. Today you don’t find great employees for lists, you must go out and find them. Focus on hiring at multiple levels, identify intrinsic skills, look for new faces from new places.
4. Weave development into the organization. Develop people to increase their capabilities: there are not enough fully developed managers and talented people have the tendency to leave if they feel that they are nor growing. 5. Differentiate and affirm employees. Differentiate pay, opportunities and investments in people.
5. Invest real money in talent. 6. Stress accountability for talent: let all business units set talent poolstrengthening objectives.
Craft a winning Employee Value Proposition
Talented people want to feel passionate about their work and to be enriched and inspired by their companies and leaders. Core elements in a career opportunity for a solid employee value proposition are : o Exciting work: including giving as much autonomy and responsibility as possible and encouraging the formation of cross-functional teams. o A great company: managers want to like the culture and values, a well-managed company and leaders that inspire them. o Attractive compensation: money is important but reward and recognition are rated also as very important. o Opportunities to develop: talented people like companies that help them develop new skills, knowledge and experiences.
Embrace a talent mindset.
This is a deep-seeded belief that having better talent at all levels is how you outperform your competitors, the source of your competitive advantage and the recognition that it pulls all other performance levers. Don’t delegate talent management to subordinates: commit a major part of your time to strengthen your talent pool. We distinguish six talent-enhancing actions for leaders: 1. Establish a talent standard: sharp difference between poor, average and excellent performance is creating a benchmark for evaluation and promotion. 2. Get actively involved in people decisions: get involved in recruitment and hiring decisions ensuring that the talent standard is applied. 3. Drive a simple but probing review of talent: discuss the talent in your company vigorously and draft action...
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