In the ‘War for Talent’ you need the SAS, not Dad’s Army, don’t you?

Posted on July 19, 2018 by jameslai | Recruitment

In many sectors there is a fierce war for talent taking place. The term itself is often misused and abused so it’s critically important to define it somewhat. In 2017, Consulting Magazine published an article which stated: 

“The bottom line is that many organisations face major shortages of highly skilled labour.” 

“Today’s corporate executives view the scarcity of talent as the global economic or social issue most likely to affect their organisation in the near future” is one of the key findings of the 2017 Mercer Global Talent Trends report.

War-for-Talent-pic-2.png#asset:1080

The Mercer report is significant and should be mandatory reading for any organisational leadership planning for the future. You can find that report here. 

This isn’t a scare story, the truth, supported by extensive research across the globe and all industries points to key issues such as the rapidly retiring baby boomer generation, a change in focus where many from the last two generations have pursued careers in sectors such as law, marketing, media and similar. Where does that leave the traditional industries and sectors, it leaves them with a chasm in the form of a skills and experience gap. If you are not aware of this, then it’s time to get your head out of the sand, or a more appropriate term in this instance would be ‘above the parapet’. If you don’t know what a parapet is, let me enlighten you. It’s the protective earth defence that is traditionally constructed by soldiers in combat zones around their trenches or foxholes. It’s to protect them from shrapnel and sniper fire. Trust me, I’ve been in war zones, it’s a remarkably reassuring feature; it’s one that provides comfort, especially when the sh*t hits the fan. Many organisations however appear to have taken their sanctuary to heart and now find themselves lacking the courage to raise their heads up, to step over the top, exit their comfort zone and engage with the enemy, which in this case is complacency and even denial.

Worse still, is the fact that they are huddled down in their foxholes with their recruiters. Yep, that’s right. I know it’s not considered fair to be critical of your own industry, but answer these questions truthfully: 

“If you were in a war zone and your life depended upon them, would you want your recruiter in your foxhole with you?” 

“Would you award your recruiters a Victoria Cross or a Distinguished Service Order for Bravery?” 

I’m always amazed when I speak to organisations and ask them about their recruiters and get feedback that is often, nonchalant indifference or even disdain. I’m confused why they would settle for second best. Attracting, securing and retaining the very best employees you can hire is so vital to every strategic goal you have, to the very success and even the future proofing of your organisation. So why settle for second best?

Second to None

War-for-Talent-pic-3.png#asset:1081

You need Coldstreamers to fight your recruiting battles for you, most of the recruiters I come across are more like ‘conscientious objectors’. The Coldstream Guards regimental motto is ‘Nulli Secundus’ which is Latin for ‘Second to None’ it means they refuse to come anything but first, they deny the possibility that they can lose in combat. It’s proved them well, they’ve never retreated in battle since they were founded in 1650. Can you honestly say that your recruiters do everything they possibly can to achieve the goals you set them? Will they dig in, knuckle down, come hell or high water, whatever is thrown at them to secure you the very best talent that they can?

Great recruiters don’t just recruit, they work with you to increase retention

Do your recruiters have a vested interest in not just hiring great talent, but ensuring that you retain it, get the opportunity to develop it? It’s vital in this war for talent, in a world where skills and experience are at a premium, where you need to be developing every employee’s future potential, that you can realise exceptional levels of retention. Herein lies the fundamental flaw with the recruitment industry, much of it is reliant upon an organisations failure to retain. Every time you lose an employee, somewhere the Recruitment Genie does a little skip and a jump because it’s another vacancy, another fee. 

This is wrong. Just consider for a moment how truly awful it is commercially to have a service provider who ultimately is reliant for their income on your failure to hire right first time or retain the talent you do hire? It is an issue that you as a hiring manager needs to address. Reward your recruiters for actively working with you to ensure great levels of retention, especially with new hires. Target them and set them objectives specifically focused on this criterion. I can guarantee you, only the very bravest, the recruiters you want next to you in that foxhole will welcome the conversation, the majority will squirm.

Engage warriors to win the war

If you want to talk about breaking out of that foxhole, raising your head above the parapet and engaging head on in the war for talent, then schedule some time to have a conversation with me. I’ll drag you through the mud and the carnage and get you and your organisation where you need to be, I’ll provide you with state-of-the-art solutions and service that will dramatically increase your hiring accuracy and new hire retention to record levels. I’ll save you and your organisation money and time. Bold statements I know. But as a former Coldstreamer, I’m confident in not only my ability to deliver, but also to exceed your expectations. 

Book some time for a no obligation discussion