5 Ways the New War For Talent Will Change the Workplace Forever

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There’s a new war for talent. Even while some victims of the recession are still out of a job, workers with in-demand skills like programming and web design can work wherever they want and command a huge salary.

Companies are literally fighting a war every day to keep this talent in their organization – and to steal more skilled workers from the competition. If you think this is blowing things out of proportion, consider this: a recruiting firm sent 150 baskets of cookies to employees at social-game-creator Zynga to let them know they want to chat about opportunities at other companies. They didn’t send those baskets to their homes; they sent them to the Zynga office. Talk about brazen!

As the economy continues to recover, as Baby Boomers continue to retire, and as the gap between the skills companies need and the skills most people have continues to grow, this war for talent will only intensify. The companies who see this coming and are prepared to do what it takes to hire and retain the right people will survive and even thrive in this new war for talent. The companies who play the wait-and-see game will be in big trouble.

5 predictions on how things will change

This new war for talent will lead to major changes in the workplace. Here are five predictions for how it will change things forever.

1. Companies will begin teaching practical skills to employees, job candidates and anyone else who wants to learn.

As companies recognize the need to train talent, develop skills and retain employees, talent management and training and development are becoming even more critical for most successful organizations. Companies will become increasingly focused on developing their internal talent through professional education and non-stop feedback.

However, as the skills gap continues to widen, this will actually go a step further, and employers will begin teaching and offering practical skills-based education to anyone who wants to learn. Whether it’s a job applicant or someone who just wants to grow professionally, everyone is a potential employee, so it makes sense from an employer branding and a recruiting perspective that companies offer this type of training to any interested party. A great example of how this is playing out right now is Living Social’s Hungry Academy.

2. The higher education institutions most resistant to change will collapse, the most forward-thinking institutions will re-invent the system and the cost of education will drop radically.

College – particularly the cost of college – is under fire. Occupy Wall Street showed the world just how much anger there is over rising costs and the subsequent student loans that prevent graduates from doing what they love.

Everywhere you look, you see new startups claiming to reinvent education, vying for a piece of this massive market. It’s inevitable that today’s notion of going to college for four years — and $150,000 — will change. The institutions that expect to stay relevant will have to do a much better job of preparing students for the workplace, and investing serious time and resources into improving their career centers. The question is: how fast will things change, and what exactly will this future look like?

These are enormous questions, and yet one thing is for sure: the institutions that survive will adapt to the new reality, and the ones that don’t will die.

3. The new “talent” will be life-long learners. The war for talent used to mean finding the most educated and most experienced people to work for you. But the new war for talent is a war for skills, a war for bright people who are constantly curious.

As technology continues to evolve and new skills become relevant overnight, it will be impossible for anyone to have all of the skills that a company needs at any given time. So the people you should be most interested in hiring are the people who want to learn and want to grow.

These are the people who will be motivated to learn the new skills a company needs on their own, the people who will actually take advantage of training and development opportunities. New tools will pop up to help identify these people, and the best recruiters will be obsessed with hiring these life-long learners.

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4. Resumes will finally become irrelevant. As employers continue to recognize that the best hires do not necessarily have a college degree or relevant experience but are constantly curious generalists willing to learn what matters today, resumes will continue to become a poor judge of candidate.

We’ve been moving in this direction for years, but now more than ever, it’s nearly impossible to pick up a piece of paper or even a Linkedin profile and make a decision on whether a job candidate is worth interviewing.

The best way to know if someone is curious, driven and relevant is to ask them tough questions and find out what they read, what they’ve learned at their last position, and how they seek self improvement in their spare time.

5. Job boards will adapt or die as the resume is replaced by the instant need for personal communication between recruiter and candidate.

As resumes become increasingly irrelevant, the next industry to die or reinvent itself will be the job board. We’re already watching companies like Monster lay off hundreds of employees and put themselves up for sale. It’s pretty obvious that spraying and praying by clicking “apply” and hoping to hear back from employers is a broken process that leads to nothing but frustration by candidates and recruiters alike.

The new online job search is all about instant personal communication between recruiter and candidate. A combination of smart matching technology and “old-school” recruiting practices where a candidate is allowed to actually talk with a recruiter at the beginning of the process is the near future of this industry. My company, Brazen Careerist, is already testing this theory with our online recruiting events and seeing huge demand.

A very real war for talent is about to slap us all in the face – and it’s time to be prepared. The companies that are ready can use this transition to their advantage and come out on top as the next Apple or Google or Facebook.

The ones that don’t? They’ll likely find themselves out of business.

Ryan Healy is the Co-Founder and COO of Brazen Careerist. He was named one of 20 entrepreneurs to watch by Worth Magazine, one of the top 25 online influencers in recruiting by HR Examiner, and has appeared on 60 Minutes, 20/20, CNN and The New York Times as an expert on the young workforce. Back at the office, Ryan and the Brazen Careerist team can be found creating transformative recruiting and HR products for organizations who understand that talent is their single most critical asset. You can email him at ryan@brazencareerist.com and follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/rjhealy.


14 Comments on “5 Ways the New War For Talent Will Change the Workplace Forever

  1. I’ll add another: Compensation Is Being Disrupted.

    Salary and commoditized health benefits won’t win you talent. You’re better off trying to buy love, because it certainly won’t get you the ambitious, constantly learning, hard working talent that will drive your company to success. Google, Facebook and the entire technology community represent a major change in the way every industry will compete, attract and retain the best employees. Compensation needs to include plans to reward and recognize employees. Your comp plan needs to explicitly include a plan to build and budget for a culture that attracts and develops the best in people. Companies that offer lunches, snack rooms, team building events, ongoing education, travel and other perks will dominate – in fact it’s happening right now. The very best companies are budgeting beyond salary and benefits and including fun, inspiring perks and rewards that drive loyalty and develop deeper engagement with fellow employees and managers.

    Is it easy to implement these types of programs? Traditionally not. Setting up company meals, a health & wellness program with local gyms and finding fun ways to rewards employees can be a full time job and expensive. But there is an answer – you can use BetterWorks to set up company wide perks, rewards and recognition and the whole process will take you around 5 minutes and less than $5 per employee.

  2. I don’t know what it will take for academia to change.   They live in a bubble.  Professors  don’t keep up with relevant issues of the day.   They are busy writing academic papers and parsing their own version of the what the word “is” is.   Research is . . . well research.   They teach theory and show no application of it.   Kids come out of university with a piece of paper, huge debt and no job.

    I have been saying for a long time that “brick & mortar” is on its way out.   Blended learning will take its place.    Huge savings on cost of real estate/buildings.   I can remember when a college semester was — well I won’t tell you because it will date me —- but I don’t see how anyone can go to college now without a loan.   Anyone.    And that is very sad.

  3. Great article, seems dead on. Being somewhat in the midst of this now, have definitely seen this shift in nature of how these positions are getting filled, especially with role recruiters are increasingly taking on as first line of application process and job boards becoming irrelevant at least from application submission standpoint.. instead seen as more of a black hole

  4. I think your predictions are dead on – the job boards are already bloated with 3rd Party Teaser resumes & fake profiles. I have also started to notice our industry (recruiting) negatively affecting LinkedIn – How many Bullhorn Reach updates did you see today? There should be a better filter for updates. The tightening of VISA regulations have presented challenges as well.

    Your a pretty sharp guy must be the last name

    -Dan Healy IV

  5. Love this article!  Bring on the future I say.  Wake up and smell the coffee people, if you think you can keep recycling the same practices and putting a new badge on them then think again.  Your competition just took your best employee and didn’t necessarily even offer much better remuneration. 

  6. Some expansion on #2.

    Humans have always been resistant to change, even if it is positive. What’s happen with higher education is no different. People are trying to fight to keep things the way they are when we’re being reminded that it’s time to progress in regards to how we educate and prepare students not just to be better people, but to prepare for the real world as well.

    The sad part is that we’re not going to see things progress for a while in the college system mainly because schools, parents, and students are unable to understand what’s going on and will defend the antiquated models of learning they’re in. But if history is a good teacher, progress, whether positive or negative, will happen eventually mainly because schools are pricing themselves out of affordability.

    It’s time to evolve and the longer education tries to fight it, the more painful it’s going to get for them and this country.

  7. I would add another prediction…. the org chart, as we have come to know it, will disappear. Organizational structure will exist as a network of deliverables. The enterprise IS the Supply Chain and process owners will collaborate directly on product / service and process improvements. The hierarchical structures in place today will be recognized as an impediment to agility. It, hierarchical structure, is predicated on command and control, designed to preserve position and power. Trust is not a common commodity yet it is trust that is a critical component of contemporary organizations / enterprise. Trust is the bandwidth that allows information to flow promoting organizational leaning, innovation and change. That doesn’t occur naturally in our traditional structures. The flow of information is guarded, learning is stifled and change does not occur without ‘permission’. The demise of these organizational impediments is inevitable. As technology drives the need for rapid adaption the old guard will be caught contemplating change as opposed to making it.

    This is how it should wok :
    Integrity + Knowledge = Competency
    Competency + Trust = Speed
    Speed + Learning = Adaptation
    Adaptation + Purpose = Survival 
    Thanks for the post Maeve! Got me going this morning 🙂

  8. Great article and very relevant information. 5+ years ago all we heard about was the hiring gap that was about to be created as Baby Boomers retired. Then 2008 happened and left the Baby Boomers needing to work longer. Now that things “maybe” are starting to soften up it makes sense that the “Gap” challenge is coming to the front again. Which, leads me to the next issue – how to keep those employees that are not engaged…engaged? How do you recruit top talent, the passive candidate, are making the knowledge transfer from the experienced employee who is retiring to the less experienced person who is taking their place the day after retirment. Lots of questions to solve…Which means more need for valuable HR and Recruiting professionals. Put your boots back on folks it might just be time to get back to work!!!

  9. I’ll add yet another – Employees will stop be employees. They will become partners with more than one firm at a time and will deploy their talent in a way that is mutually advantageous to both parties. 

  10. There are some very rare instances in which federal student loan debt can be forgiven, such as total and permanent disability. But I’m not aware of a situation in which a divorce or general financial setback could result in loan forgiveness. A borrower in that situation could qualify for a temporary suspension of payments through a deferment of forbearance, but the principal of the loan would still exist, and in most cases the principal will also accrue interest during the deferment or forbearance period.

  11. Really interesting article! The points about the resume and job boards were particularly insightful. You’re right, the traditional resume isn’t always a great indicator of whether a job seeker will be the right fit for your organization or the life-long learner you’ll need. This is probably why new technology like social media and the video resume are gaining traction. On social media, recruiters can connect more personally with candidates while video resumes allow recruiters and hiring managers to see personality and communication skills early in the process. And the future will definitely involve application and hiring methods that allow recruiters and candidates to connect personally much faster than in the traditional method, like one-way video interviews or recruiting events. In the war for talent, getting personal with candidates faster is the best way to find out if you’re about to hire the right person.

  12. I think we’re also missing the downside – the reality is that companies will be torn between execution (e.g. satisfying customers) and letting go of poor performers. If we’re saying that there is or will be a broadening skills gap and with the baby boomers finally able to afford to leave – this will create quite a conundrum for organizations. Do we let tenured or less skilled workers leave since we will have a challenge replacing them OR do we keep lower performers on longer so as not to suffer from brain drain or labor shortages? I don’t think he predictions are as clear cut as we would like to make them. I think service organizations who rely on census for scheduling and customer service will be torn. I think we may actually see the development of LoPo programs – focus on the lower performers to increase their skills. They are already employees so recruiting costs will be mitigated…they already have institutional knowledge, you won’t have to engage in the all out war for talent – you can pick & choose your battles based on positions, geography and business need. My point is that it’s not an easy nor clear cut issue and organizations have been notoriously bad at adapting to change (because PEOPLE are bad at change). I think we’ll see the emergence of various strategies to offset the labor issues which may include growing your own, engaging in battle, and changing the face of full time employment to a more employee-centric millennial approach.which recognizes the needs of the emerging workforce. But hey – like everyone else on here I’m no fortune teller and we can’t get fired for being wrong. So much like not knowing the correct answer on an assessment – it never hurts to guess 🙂

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