Sunday, October 4, 2009

Can You Compete in the War for Talent?

A recent story in, entitled “Get a Head Start in the Coming War for Talent” outlined strategies employers need to embrace to retain and recruit the best employees. Talent retention and recruitment will be critical as the economy “emerges from the darkness.” Companies will need to keep their best employees and recruit talented people in order to be competitive.

The story noted the disconnect between employers’ and employees’ perceptions with current job satisfaction. Surveys show that up to 65 percent of employees are either passively or actively looking for new jobs. Employers think only 37 percent of their workforce is looking – thus, they’re “grossly out of touch.”

The article notes four strategies for employers to retain and recruit the best employees, including shifting the traditional emphasis from recruiting to retention; making their employees’ experience unique; taking care of their people in tough times; and paying attention to their “employee brand.”

A strong argument can be made that those 65 percent of employees looking to change need to embrace their own key strategies in order to compete in the upcoming talent wars.

Chief among those strategies is being able to tell your story; speak to the value you bring to an organization. Tell the story that differentiates you from the competition – that other 65 percent who are looking for new work.

Another key strategy is to know your audience. Know the organizations for whom you want to work; know what their challenges are; know how you’ll be able to help them address their challenges.

A third strategy is to use your network. Who are the people that can speak to your value? Can they connect you to others who can use your value? A corollary to using one’s network is building a network. Use and other social networks to connect to decision-makers and colleagues who can help you get access to the organizations in which you’re interested.

As you network, focus on “paying it forward.” Think of how you can be of help to the person you’re reaching out to. Don’t think in terms of what you can get out of the relationship; don’t think in terms of reciprocity; don’t keep score. If you keep score, you lose. Your value to others in your network is what you can do for them. Keep that in mind as you build connections.

Finally, nurture your network; keep your connections informed of what you’re up to. Let them know of your successes and of the changes in your professional life. Keep your network active. Let them know that you’re available to them; that you will help them as they helped you.

So, are you prepared to compete in the talent wars? Can you tell your story to prospective employers in ways that aligns your value to their challenges? Does your network know your value? Can its members connect you to employers that need your value? Can you do the same for them?

What other strategies do you need to employ to be competitive in the war for talent?

1 comment:

  1. Knowing your value and sharing it. The 2009-2010 job market isn't the time or place to be modest. No one will know your value unless you tell them.

    For those of us who were brought up in conservative Midwestern households, this is often difficult and feels very unnatural.

    I can build my story, but sharing it the right way and to the right people is an ongoing challenge. The old saying, "the more you do it, the better you will be" holds true. So I routinely tell myself, "Just do it."