In recent weeks, I have repeatedly heard recruiters rejoicing over the fact that the “War for Talent” is coming to end. After all, there are plenty of candidates for every position and given the current economic climate this trend will continue, right? Wrong. According to estimates by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there will be 10 million more jobs than people in the workforce by the year 2007. In short, the cause of this is linked to the aging of baby boomers, who are beginning to leave the workforce with lower populations of later generations to fill their positions. By the year 2006 there will be two employees leaving the workforce for every one added. In light of these facts, savvy staffing professionals will start assessing their own “homeland security,” and deploying an aggressive battle plan in response. To make this difficult undertaking more manageable, start by breaking the assessment and battle plan into the following four key components.
- People. Starting with people, determine whether your organization truly has a commitment to talent. Are you taking steps to develop your employees and offer them a challenging and rewarding employment experience? Are you offering programs that attract the best talent for your organizations? How’s the morale of your existing workforce? How are you perceived in the marketplace? A survey by WetFeet revealed that while 36% of employees are happy with their current jobs, they would still be willing to make a change within six months.
- Process. Next, take a look at your processes. Examine your processes from the time the candidate first applies, through hiring and even into the assimilation process and beyond. How do you handle incoming candidate responses? What steps are you taking to move an employee from new hire to productive contributor? Do you make it easy for employees to identify and apply for internal opportunities? Often it is much easier for an employee to identify opportunities outside of their organization. I recently spoke with a client who had a low rate of internal applicants. Upon closer examination, not only were managers empowered to prevent transfers, the employees also feared repercussions from their current department manager if they attempted a transfer.
- Tools. The third component to review is tools, the strategic items. What do you need to deploy? Do you have a strategy for reaching your target candidates? Do you have a recognizable employer brand, and is it tied to your product brand? Twenty percent of applicants apply for positions because of product ads. And what about benchmarking data? How do you rate your success? Remember that metrics are a powerful part of the equation. Metrics reflect your success in the battle and enable you provide continuous process improvement.
- Technology. Finally, assess your technology. Technology can be used in many ways to manage the hiring process, capture EEO/AA data, measure your results, and maintain contact with prospective employees. How are you using technology? Do you have the components that you need? How is you career page working? Is it visible and easy to locate? Are your open positions posted? Does your site offer valuable information that candidates seek? There are numerous considerations when evaluating or developing a website. This is just the beginning.
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If you think the war for talent is over, think again. The war continues, but the battlefield has shifted. Even companies that are laying off in one division are expanding in others. Today’s battle cry is “relationships.” Build relationships with prospective employees, stay in touch with former employees, and make a commitment to developing your top performers. Finally, make sure you have a robust arsenal ó i.e., the tools and technology ó to complement your strategy. These four key components are essential elements to a smart battle plan, ensuring your company’s victory today and tomorrow.