Flipping the Script of the War for Talent

August 5, 2019
War for Talent

Terms like innovation, transformation, and re-inventing are all common management jargon and aspirations. With the amazing new technologies transforming business models and the way businesses are planning for the future, there is a constant battle hunting for and recruiting talent that can bridge the gap between what was and what is needed to stay competitive. Note that talent does not necessarily mean a singular person. In fact, it is very difficult to find all the qualities needed to fit the definition of “Top Talent” in just one single person.

Many think the War for Talent is all about technical capabilities such as computer engineers, software developers, and specialists in artificial intelligence. While this is partially true, there is an even more pressing need: Talent that can understand not only what new technology is MOST appropriate for helping to re-invent the company but also how to implement the changes necessary.

Over the past few years, new software and platforms are making it easier to install and become more intuitive for users. Ironically, the new and constantly evolving technologies are focused on replacing the need for expensive and hard-to-find top talent. In fact, what talents may be needed today may become obsolete in a short period of time. 

A key question to ask before joining the costly and time-consuming battle is to ask: “is the need for specific skills to match certain solutions, or are there other ways to meet the perceived needs? 

Normally, when new systems or solutions are being considered for a new initiative, a business analyst is sent in to investigate and analyze the current functions of the company to better assess what might be the best solution. Of course, solution vendors always offer that service, but that also brings in the bias and self-interest of the potential vendor. 

Perhaps a better option is to hire a third party to do the analysis with no product bias. In fact, often, an analysis may uncover a less expensive and less intrusive solution just based on the inefficiency of the current policies and procedures. For example, some companies may be looking to a “magic bullet” solution along with the need for new talent to manage the magic bullet rather than adopt better, less expensive, best business practices. For certain industries, just learning how to implement and use a Six Sigma or lean operational program can provide the needed improvements. 

Business Analyst

Consider an Expert Consulting Team Rather than an Individual Long-term Superstar 

Once a company decides it needs to explore new ways of doing things, it can make more sense to not immediately think of adopting new technologies. A wiser approach can be to first do an analysis of the existing company situation and identify areas for improvement. Often, management is too close to the daily way of doing things (“That’s the way we have always been doing things”) that their operational isolation precludes the inability to know how others may have already reached more traditional and less expensive solutions. Indeed, adopting new technology may just be a superficial solution that only hides deeper, more fundamental problems.

Leveraging Experience

A report by the U.S. Labor Department forecasts over 67% of all new job openings will be due to retirements. But there is an elegant solution to not only adequately filling those future job vacancies but also leverage the vast experience and leadership leaving the job market. In other words, recycling existing expertise.

It is a wasted opportunity not to tap into the growing asset of retired talent. Indeed, many of the new retirees would prefer to keep their minds active and apply their skills but on a more limited basis. Many talented retired “Top talent” become consultants and work on a project by project basis. In fact, the digital age and job exchange platforms such as Upwork and other platforms allow talented individuals with ACTUAL SPECIFIC EXPERIENCE in leading company initiatives and change management to be hired on a freelance basis. They may not have the exact technical skills, but they do have the even more important leadership skills and confidence to help companies take the important and sometimes risky steps needed to innovate and adapt to the ever-changing competitive landscape. In fact, the search for “top talent” may actually be the search for leadership. 

This implies the question: “Do we need specialists with a limited shelf-life, or do we need more fundamental, more enduring change?”

The War for Top Talent has helped to provide a new growth industry of independent, specialist contractors, also known as consultants. However, hiring a shiny resume can also be risky, but there are companies such as MetaExperts™ who understand that a better business model is to hire a company made up of and managed by experienced former executives and specialists. This model allows for the mix and match of various proven skill sets that are coordinated to do the following third-party tasks:

1. Analyze the current company situation. This is usually done by a team of former C-Level experts with experience in the specific or related industry. 

2. Develop a report on the current state of the company what potential scenarios for potential improvements along with estimated cost-benefit analysis.

3. Identify internal human resources and subject matter experts (SMEs) who have the potential to help facilitate any changes needed or if outside contractors may be needed.

4. Design scope of work to implement the selected change scenario.

5. Facilitate and manage the implementation of new initiatives.

7. Train and document the new changes, policies, and procedures.

8. Perform follow up checks on the implementation process over time to ensure long-term success.

The Takeaway

The “War for Talent” is more a matter of perspective and the search for a silver bullet than it is a pragmatic approach to what may be a more profound concern. Before diagnosing the need for participating in the battle, look for a “plug-in” solution rather than jump to an iteration of the latest technology. Furthermore, it makes more sense to analyze the company first and determine what may be the most optimal and cost-effective way to achieve the actual identified needs and not just mimic what others may be doing.


Cara Chatellier

Cara Chatellier is a digital marketing strategist & content writer. She lives in the Boston area and has worked with MetaExperts since October 2018. She loves travel, wine tastings, and podcasts.

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