3 Tips for Winning with Talent

It seems like we are at a point of transition when it comes to the war for talent. It is true that “talent” is the most talked about challenge for business in 2017. Clearly, this war has spread from a “front line” talent acquisition battle to multiple battles involving engaging and retaining staff. Creating a winning work environment is critical to long term success.

Now entering another year of full employment, we see continued focus on keeping and getting the best out of our current team members. Understanding the needs of millennials and creating a workforce culture that speaks to the interests and needs of this new workforce also continues to be a focus. The right culture and workforce experience (which includes some type of larger purpose) along with training, coaching and mentoring are critical. Oh – and let’s not forget opportunities for advancement.

recent article from Fast Company proposes the idea that many companies seem to be “waging a war “on” not “for” talent. The article explains that companies are inherently better at repelling and alienating young talent better successfully harnessing their skills. The article suggests three strategies:

  1. Get Better at Measuring Talent – Rely less on intuition and more on science within the assessment process. Also, do a better job understanding individual success predictive factors. These might include being rewarding to deal with, and able and willing to work hard.
  2. Stop Developing Leadership Skills. The article cited a study that showed a direct correlation between amount spent on traditional leadership training and a lessening confidence in leadership. The strategy of not offering enough corrective or negative feedback combined with bolstering someone’s over confidence is not a style that inspires those to follow.
  3. A Little Self Awareness Goes a Long Way. The concept of emotional intelligence is one that needs to extend to self! This needs to be valued more.

It’s true that talent appears when the right person is in the right job, but let’s not forget culture fit. The right skill set in the right job within the wrong culture will still fail. A recent Forbes article makes a strong argument that culture trumps competence every time. Understanding predictive characteristics that align with your culture is most important. Skills and competencies can be learned but values, style, drive and personality won’t change.

You should consider shifting your resources to understanding and harnessing your current team members to keep them engaged and growing. Create a culture and work place that reinforces the qualities that predict the outcome you desire.

In summary, the war has shifted, but don’t stop battling for new talent. Consider hiring people that fit the culture and possess the right predictive intangibles. Then develop or enhance their skills and competencies. You have a better chance at employee retention in the long run.