The Company University: Winning the War for Talent

Winning the War for Talent by Training from Within

The war for talent is all too real. Everyone is talking about the difficulty in filling positions that didn’t even exist a few years ago. There has been much finger pointing, such as the inability of the American Educational system to anticipate and train for needed jobs. Moreover, there are many complaints about the lack of critical thinking skills in most University graduates. But most companies don’t have the time to just finger-point when they need to make things happen and not just complain.

Recycling our experienced “top talent” seems to be an important intuitive step”

New technologies come, morph, and disappear; and finding specific expertise for a particular solution can be difficult given the fact that “top talent” presupposes an existing level of expertise as well as a hands-on experience for that “right person” to plug into the new system.

Supply and demand for “plug-in experts” drive up the costs of recruiting, hiring, pay, and incentives.

However, just finding the right hire is only part of the challenge of finding the right talent. As with most candidates, impressive resumes are a dime a dozen. There are other qualities that “top talent” may need to possess that may not be adequately demonstrated on a resume or even during the interview process.

“Top Talent” can mean many attributes and not just technical or STEM skills

“Top talent” often needs to have the ability to deliver leadership and innovation. Indeed, coming into a new company can produce pressures and unrealistic expectations of the new star recruit, and it takes a strong and confident personality to adjust and create immediate credibility. Moreover, “top talent” needs to have the ability to innovate and adapt to existing processes to integrate with any new technical requirements. Not many people who are available have those talents as they are usually found in the C-suite.

Create Your Own Talent

Most businesses know what they need in the way of talent. They understand their business, the culture, and what works within that culture. However, they may not know the technical aspects of a new or innovative initiative, but the businesses know better than do most educational institutions. So, in reality, finding “top talent” is taking a shortcut to the acquisition of new knowledge within the context of the business. Indeed, that short-cut can be short-lived as specialists can quickly become obsolete as technology evolves and morphs.

Instead of finding the “plug-in” person, it can make more sense for the long term to train internal talent. To accomplish this strategy, some companies are setting up “Centers of Excellence” or In-house “Universities” and invite experts in for specific in-house training courses.

Ok, but where do you find those experts?’

Create Your Own Talent

Leveraging Part-time Retired Expertise: The Corporate University

Old soldiers may just fade away, but many old corporate soldiers become consultants. Think about it; the huge surge in the retirement of baby boomers with vast levels of experience, adaptation, and leadership skills. Yes, they have the skills and experience to be “Top Talent,” but not the interest in just being recycled. They love the ability to share their experience and knowledge with others without having to deal with corporate politics and pressures of running a daily operation. Indeed, they can help provide not only new skills but old skills as well.

There are few better teachers than experience. Academic prowess is just not the same thing.

There are companies out there, such as MetaExperts™ and others who see the need and the opportunity to help companies bridge the gap between new and old. For example, the MetaExperts™ business model is to locate, vet, and hire highly experienced executives with certifications and vast experience who can pass a rigorous 300-point filtering process to become part of the stable of specialists for onsite trainers and consultants. Indeed, consultants are educators and trainers first.

They not only have many of the technical skills but also the ability to assess the company’s situation, their staff competency, and create an immediate atmosphere of trust and credibility. Importantly, experienced MetaExperts know hot to take on new initiatives and work in harmony with the existing company model. Implementation of such projects requires insight into the complexities of implementing successful change and stakeholder buy-in.

Consider the following Statistics for the future job market

  1. According to the BLS, Over the next 10 years, the job market will grow only .7% (The “War for Talent” will only become more competitive and expensive.)
  2. 2. 67% if new jobs by 2020 will be to fill retirements. (Think of the amount of talent that will be moving into the potential Consultant/Teacher/Mentor ranks).

In summary, everyone talks about how important human resources are. So, why not invest in developing that most valuable asset? Some will say that investing in training can be a losing proposition as soon as a trained employee leaves the company. Once again, think out of the box and come up with a way to guarantee the return-on-investment with agreements of employment duration after training. Either way, it is fairly safe to say that the institutional, educational system will more than likely not meet the challenge of providing top talent in any significant numbers for many years to come…if at all. So, Corporate America can take up the challenge that can fill in the gap and help all of society move forward rather than waste more time and lost opportunity costs waiting for slow-moving institutional infighting.  In fact, perhaps Corporate Universities can lead the way into new educational techniques and strategies. Indeed, if that becomes a reality, corporate universities and centers of excellence centers could also become another profit centers as well as lead the way educational development on a much larger scale.

Recycling our experienced “top talent” seems to be an important intuitive step in that direction.

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