Organizations are who they hire. Whether an organization succeeds, or even survives, ultimately comes down to the people who work there. I work hard, I am dedicated and a driven leader, but I can’t do it alone. As organizations mature and become more complex, the need for exceptional and diversified talent grows.
“Look, I don’t really know where we should take this bus. But I know this much: If we get the right people on the bus, the right people in the right seats, and the wrong people off the bus, then we’ll figure out how to take it someplace great.”
– Jim Collins (2001, Good to Great, pg. 41)
Talent Shortage Myth
It’s easy for an organization to blame bad hiring experiences on a shortage of talented people from which to draw. In recent years, commentary has increased around the notion that talent is in short supply. I have always had a cynical view of this belief. I don’t think there is as much talent shortage as some would have us believe. Following are 5 considerations to help you shift your thinking around talent.
1. Be a Great Place to Work
I have come to understand that there is not so much a talent shortage as a shortage of great places to work. Talented employees have choices, and all things considered, they will choose a place that is great to work at over a lot of other benefits, including sometimes pay. People want to work in organizations that are healthy, innovative and inspiring. Talented individuals seek out great organizations – they won’t settle for less, and they don’t have to.
2. Focus on Aptitude over Exact Talent
Employers are prone to indicate that there is a talent shortage when they can’t find someone to do the exact task or have the precise skill they want, or the candidates don’t have the exact background they desire. Employers who believe this need only shift their perspectives slightly and focus on the talents that they seek.
I have experienced how one of our new employees with a natural aptitude and talent (but not an exact match) for the skill we needed quickly developed the skill set to do what we needed. I had planned on it taking several months to a year for her to be functioning at the level I desired, but in only a month, she had the exact skill and experience that was needed. Her natural talent was so high that she quickly mastered the complexities of the job.
3. Great Talent Costs
Specialized talent often costs more, and frankly, deserves more money. Employers may complain of a talent shortage when they can’t find someone they desire at the price they would like to pay. If employers are not willing to pay for talent, that does not equate to a talent shortage.
However, not all talent is driven by money. If you are an organization with limited financial resources you may need to focus on being a great place to work, having a compelling purpose, and offering what you can. When you do this, talent will begin to find you.
4. Talent Is Often Hidden
Great talent is sometimes hidden, but the good news is that people with talent tend to know each other. The best talent is often found through methods such as referrals, networking and building relationships. The kind of talent you need is not always looking for work, in which case job ads are often an irrelevant way to find superior employees and should not be your only source. Tap into your networks and the networks of your friends.
5. Talent Motivates Talent
Talented people crave a workplace that encourages them to reach their potential, and in that process they help the organization reach its potential. Through collaboration, talented employees thrive off each other. Collaborative talent pushes the boundaries of what is possible, improves productivity and increases efficiencies. Talent motivates talent! Once you have great talent other talent will come.
Attracting, developing and retaining talent needs to be a key function of leadership, as talent is fundamental to organizational success. The reality is that talent surrounds us. If you believe there is a shortage of talent, you are likely missing opportunities.