The ‘war for talent is a phrase often used by modern HR leaders. It refers to the competition to bring the most talented candidates into the organization and retain them for the long term so that they can use their skills to make meaningful contributions toward the growth and success of the organization.
Among the earliest instances of the usage of this phrase was in 1997, in the McKinsey Quarterly. This came from the belief that as compared to brand value, the scale of operations, supply chain, technology, or other traditional sources of strategic advantage, talent is the true factor that could help an organization accelerate its success. It is to this end that talent management has come to the fore as a means of maximizing the return from talent by strengthening the learning and development initiatives at the organization.
How has COVID-19 affected the world of work?
The effect is there for all to see:
- Up to 50 percent of employees are ready to leave their current jobs if hybrid work arrangements are not permitted
- After the pandemic, 25 percent of employees plan to move on from their current employers.
The past few months have seen the workforce and its talent managers grapple with the effects of the pandemic. These have ranged from new safety protocols for employees and workplaces to layoffs and compulsory remote work, with a fair measure of employee dissent over corporate actions in this period. It remains important to retain focus and plan ahead toward organizational goals.
What is the effect on employment?
As the world adjusts to life in the pandemic era, economies are expected to pick up and perform strongly. As a result, talent leaders would be well advised to brace themselves for a much higher demand for talent that greatly exceeds the available supply. What makes it simpler for employees to find new and more attractive job openings is the higher and more convenient availability of requisite details and information on the market conditions, prospective employer, and job opening. The market for talent is run by sellers – i.e. the prospective new hires – they can switch conveniently and quickly, thanks to remote interviews and easy setting up of work-from-home arrangements. The tether between location and employee has been severed, and employers are now bidding to bring on board the best people irrespective of where they physically reside, offering them excellent career prospects.
How was the past war for talent fought?
Recruitment was the main tool that HR leaders used to hire the best people. With new technology in recruitment plus stronger employer branding online on corporate websites and social media and a positive candidate experience driven by hard data, the proposition of employment with the company under consideration was sought to be made more compelling. Approaches to this included a more attractive workplace and better perks.
What are the imperatives for the new war for talent?
In current times, the approach has to change. There must be a dedicated effort by talent management teams to focus on a well-thought-out remote or hybrid work experience that keeps employees motivated to work with the company. This is essential to avoid attrition. Technology firms, in particular, come loaded with funds and of course technology, basis which they are likely to find it much easier to hire the people they need. Compensation levels often go through the roof, along with very attractive benefits packages.
The focus must be on retaining the best talent. If talent managers aim at maximizing the value they offer to employees and ensuring they are happy with their experience of working with the company, there is no reason why they should not be successful in bringing and keeping the best people on board.