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Developing an effective talent strategy

May 20, 2015

By George Brown, courtesy of SBAM Approved Partner ASE

According to Deloitte’s third annual “Global Human Capital Trends 2015: Leading in the New World of Work” report the top issue identified by 87% of HR and business leaders is lack of employee engagement.  Three out of five (60%) of HR and business leaders surveyed said they do not have an adequate program to measure and improve engagement, indicating a lack of preparedness for addressing this issue. Only 12% of HR and business leaders have a program in place to define and build a strong culture; while only 7% rated themselves as excellent at measuring, driving, and improving engagement and retention.

More than 3,300 organizations from 106 countries participated in the survey, assessing the importance of specific talent challenges and their readiness to meet them.

Learning in particular is a key element of engagement, and engagement is the key to talent retention.

Deloitte’s report found that more than eight out of 10 (85%) respondents cited learning as “important” or “very important,”—up 21% from 2013. However, the “capability gap,” which Deloitte defines as the gap between the organization’s  stated importance of the issue and its ability to address the issue, grew in magnitude by 211% over the last year (from -9 to -28). In other words, leaders  are aware of the gap and acknowledge it openly,  but they are not putting the infrastructure in place to meet the demands of the new workforce.  The leadership credibility gap just grows larger.

Moreover, only 28% of the respondents believe that they are “ready” or “very ready” in the area of workforce capability.

Another band-aid that is growing in use is the on demand workforce.  According to the survey, 34% of all workers in the United States are contract workers, and 51% of respondents say their need for contingent workers will keep growing over the next 3-5 years. That does not bode well for new college graduates, who face the likelihood of their first jobs, and perhaps a good part of their careers, being contract—i.e., temp—jobs. One consequence of this new talent paradigm may be the loss of subject matter experts (from the skilled to the white collar workforce) capable of helping organizations grow. 

What does this mean for the future of talent?  As the shortages grow, salaries will necessarily increase.  There will likely be more mergers and acquisitions to acquire talent as well as more movement by companies to where talent is located.  Talent has bargaining power, and it may be very difficult to get talent to move to a less desirable location.  It should be expected that small growing organizations will hit a ceiling in terms of talent availability and will have to be more innovative to achieve growth targets. 

For those organizations facing a “critical skills shortage,” identifying not only the skills lacking today but within five years is crucial for any talent pipeline strategy.  HR needs to talk to senior management and ask them where they see the business in five years, if not more, to gain insight to the talent needs. From there, HR should work on establishing a multi-pronged talent acquisition (internal and external) strategy.

Further, talent retention is a key component of any holistic talent strategy.  According to the most recent McLean & Company research conducted and released  May 8 (which is accessible through the ASE Virtual Library), HR must engage primary stakeholders on retention issues and solutions, identify areas of unhealthy turnover, quantify the cost of turnover, and classify turnover themes (better pay, bad boss, lack of advancement, etc.).

Mark Twain once said, “Everyone talks about the weather, but no one ever does anything about it.” Today’s employers talk about talent acquisition, engagement and retention because they are acutely aware of how important those issues are to their future health. But so far, comparatively few employers have been able to access the resources and, more importantly the guidance, to put systems in place that address these issues.  But these issues are not the weather; you can do something about them.”

To gain a better understanding of the research conducted by McLean & Company and the process to address talent retention, please register for a complimentary webinar on May 27.

Need help finding talent? SBAM can help! Click here to access the SBAM Talent Exchange.

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