I have written about this before and even predicted this but the war for talent has begun. Granted, it is in its infancy and not yet in full swing, but I’ve talked to several recruiting firms and organizations who are beginning to look for talent to fill the void of massive layoffs. In addition, they are searching for meaningful ways to retain existing talent.
I’ve read several studies that are suggesting anywhere from 20 to 40% of high potential employees who presently have jobs are looking to change in another organization. Reasons vary from traditional ones like compensation, roles, and work/life balance, to unhappiness over how things were handled in the recession time period. Competing organizations with the help of recruiters have begun poaching each others’ talent, and as one recruiter shared with me last week, “they want the best of what is out there, and are really willing to pay top dollar for it.”
What does this mean? To those presently unemployed that may question these findings, it means that I hope you spent your unemployment time retooling yourself and re-making yourself. To employers, it means “watch out” — you had better make up for implicit or explicit abuse, intentional or not, that all employees have been subjected to over the past two years. You better have a retention strategy especially for your most vulnerable group — your middle managers. Revisit your cultural values and norms to realign yourselves, and start having fun again.
Most importantly, I think it means that “those who do not learn from their past, are most likely to repeat their mistakes” (as the adage goes). This is a great time to reflect on what kinds of behaviors and structures (compensations, hierarchy, etc.) worked and did not work over the past two years. This reflection, done collectively, can be very healing and a critical part of retention. Focus groups, surveys, interviews with key talent, dinners with top executives, town hall meetings and the like are all nice best practices and I hope organizations will embrace them this summer.