The war for talent - and how to win it

The war for talent is intensifying - do you know how to win it?

In 1997, a comprehensive McKinsey study described the “war for talent” as a coming talent shortage that will become a critical driver of corporate performance and a strategic business challenge. The study urged companies to prioritize talent management strategies containing recruitment, retention and employee development.

However, the economy cooled down and many assumed that the war for talent was over. Looking over the landscape today, it is definitely not.

The war for talent is accelerating

The economy has once again recovered; and the power is in the process of shifting from employers to employees. Various estimates estimate that by 2020, employers in the wealthiest countries will be short of nearly 18 million college-educated workers.  In addition, as baby boomers start to approach their retirement, the situation will become even more critical.

To compete in this economy, companies need sophisticated talent with global acumen, multicultural fluency, technological literacy, entrepreneurial skills, and the ability to manage increasingly delayered, disaggregated organizations.

However, the competition is tough and attracting those talents is not an easy task:

  1. The rise of small- and medium-sized companies intensify the competition. These SME’s are targeting the same workforce and offer opportunities for impact, flexibility and wealth that only few large companies can compete with.
  2. Job mobility is increasing - and employees are not afraid of exploring job opportunities that either are virtual or abroad. Employees also shift jobs more often than before.
  3. The younger generation of workers are less interested in traditional employments and positions. Instead, they seek flexibility and roles where they can act as free agents.

How your company can compete with this?

Dedicate more efforts to employee engagement

Even though potential candidates normally don’t have the chance to familiarise themselves with the culture, when applying for a position, the word of mouth will usually not let an engaging workplace go unnoticed. Also, as employee retention is an important factor in the war for talent, effective employee engagement will always be a great card to play. Especially considering the fact that 87% of organisations consider culture and engagement as their top challenge, and less than half of them believe that they have good enough programs in place to engage and retain employees.

Employee engagement is important. Various studies have proved engaged employees among others, are more productive, have less absence days and generate higher profits.

To dedicate more efforts to employee engagement, setting up an engagement board across the organisation can be worthwhile. The primary task of such management board will be to promote a culture of engagement. Let the team understand the engagement from your employees’ perspectives on basis of yearly employee engagement surveys and carry out a full review of communication to develop strategies and tactics that serve to enhance engagement.

Give employees flexibility

Besides employee engagement, the new generations also expect organizations and future employers to provide them with the ability to work from anywhere, at anytime.  Therefore, companies need to be ready to integrate technologically connected employees and virtual workers - and be prepared that their future dream-talents will be positioned outside city or country boundaries.

Providing the employees the flexibility of working from anywhere, and when they want. can give the new generations the feeling of freedom that they constantly are on outlook for and also help managing the work-life balance for families with children.

Focus on work-life balance and employee well-being

There is no doubt that in order for employers to attract and retain top talent, while decreasing the level of employee disengagement, offering the right mix for corporate wellness initiatives is critical.

More and more employees, both old and young, believe that employers need to play an active role in reducing the amount of stress in their lives. Employees are also of the belief that employers are the right ones to do that.

Initiatives such as mediation programs, flexible work arrangements, improvement of the work environment and introduction of amenities such as fitness rooms, day care centers and many more have the capability of making the work environment more attractive for challenged parents, great talents and new generations.

Do you want more insights on how employee engagement can leave a positive impact on your bottom line? Download our White Paper: Service 3.0 - Linking customer experience with employee engagement.

How does your company address the war on talent? Tell us in the comments below.