In 2001 McKinsey & Company coined the term “the war for talent” to describe the problem companies are experiencing when recruiting top talent. In a detailed report, McKinsey explains that while having talented mangers is critical to the success of companies in today’s knowledge-based economy, it is becoming more difficult to attract and retain talented employees because demand exceeds supply. According to McKinsey, reduced supply of future eligible executives in the US and Europe will spark an international “talent war” that will get more intense as the years go by.
McKinsey recommends that companies change their mindset and become talent-oriented on all levels of management. The consulting firm suggests that leaders in the company constantly look for new and improved ways to bolster talent. In order to change the company’s mindset, changes in the culture of the organization must be made. Here is how you can create a talent-focused culture.
First, everyone in the company should engage in the process. Top management, mid-level management, and entry-level employees should all be involved in the process. Once it is decided the company is going to focus on encouraging leadership and supporting talent, everyone should take part in activities and practices that are related to the creation of change. Group conformity is important in this case because members who are reluctant to comply with the change can hurt its course.
Second, focus on empowering employees by encouraging them to use as many of their skills as possible, make decisions, and ask questions. Creating an environment that stretches the employees’ ability and supports their development is an important part of cultural change. The company should create policies that promote learning and experimenting in a nonjudgmental atmosphere.
Third, the value and ROI of the cultural change must be demonstrated and communicated to the employees. In order for everyone to stay motivated and keep their energy levels high, the benefits of the change should be made known. Companies need to use the knowledge and the innovation achieved by the new policies to prove to the employees that their effort has created real value to them and to the company.
Attracting top talent is that much harder for small businesses, which have fewer resources to offer big benefit packages. However, small businesses have the ability to differentiate themselves by offering talented employees a more supportive and dynamic work environment that will allow them to be involved in critical decision-making and to stretch their skills and abilities to the max.
Based on: Allen, Elizabeth and Doladee, Beth. “Culture: If you build it (right), the talent will come (and stay).” Vaya Group. 2011. 23 July 2012.