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The Coming War for Top Talent: Is Your Organization Prepared for the Battle?

As of September 2017, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the unemployment rate had dropped to 4.1%, our lowest rate since the year 2000. Like many of you who are focused on attracting top talent, that number can seem much lower as you struggle to find and recruit the people with the skills you need to help your organization grow.

In looking at future trends, it will only get more competitive. Over ten thousand baby boomers are turning 65 every day in the United States alone, and this will continue through the year 2030. The developed world continues to get older and a major future challenge will be in sourcing candidates that have the in-demand skills you require. While Robotics, AI, and other technologies will automate more industries, I firmly believe they will only create more opportunities for the next great evolution in workforce trends. Skills and abilities that are not easily disrupted by technology (Yet!) include but are not limited to; problem solving, creativity, collaborative project management, social intelligence, technical skills, and global business acumen.

The industrial revolution created more opportunities, and the internet revolution and the coming seismic changes to the future of work will create even greater advances for those most adaptable to change. They will thrive. So, how is your future talent acquisition strategy aligned to attract the human capital you will require? Here are 5 areas that most organizations should be investing in to become an employer of choice for today and tomorrow.

1. Engaging your employees has to become truly integral to your culture: Most organizations get that engaged employees do better work. They are emotionally connected, and are more productive, and stay with your organization longer. Jeff Bezos from Amazon famously has an empty chair at staff meetings, to represent the voice of the customer. The empty seat moving forward should probably be your star employees. How does your decision impact them, what would they want, and what would they say? Will they be on-board to execute, and have you thoroughly addressed any potential gaps in resources, incentives, action plans, etc.? Engaging them moving forward will be partnering with them, so you can all provide a superior customer experience and the growth your organization needs.

2. Embrace the Gig Economy: We will all need to be more nimble and flexible to execute on our goals. Leveraging and unleashing talent will not necessarily mean bringing them on full time to your organization. Yes, you may still use consultants, but for execution, it will be about the job to be done, and not about full time staffing needs. Use of freelancers, contractors, and leveraging the best talent available globally for a project will explode in coming years. It is best to be building your relationships and connections now. (This is about replacing your roof while the sun is shining, well before the storms arrive.)

3. Expanding focused career mapping based on individual talents and strengths: If you are hiring A player talent that you want to stay long term, how can you improve and accelerate their development? This will involve creating detailed action plans based on leveraging the employee’s talents, capabilities, and strengths. For those of you in HR or Talent Development, you are very familiar with the 70-20-10 model of development. (Experience on the job, rotations/specific assignments/training, etc.) This will have to accelerate for Millennials and Generation Z coming up behind them. A career moving forward will be more a portfolio of projects and experiences with the focus on the results that the individual drove. How will you enhance that map for your potential talent that will be attractive to them?

4. Embracing flexibility in benefits, perks, and other creative approaches to attract top talent: While not the thrust of this post, many HR teams will be challenged to adapt quickly. The workforce demands of tomorrow will challenge some organizations. How can you best structure the “jobs to be done” in an environment supporting work-life balance, global collaboration, and innovation?

5. Invest even more in your people! If you are going to hire them, then invest in them. Tomorrow’s top talent will expect to be developed and invested in as if they were the organization’s most important asset. Through individual development plans including targeted training, mentoring, Sr. Staff coaching/access, and job rotational development opportunities designed to help them learn, stretch, and grow.

What other areas you are exploring as you look to attract top talent in your industry?

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