Unemployment Is High, But There’s Still a War for Talent Going On

From the HR blog at TLNT.
From the HR blog at TLNT.

How often do you hear this refrain: “Employees should be grateful to just have a job.” Or “There’s a lot of people looking for work right now. I’ve got my pick of the cream of the crop.”

Recruiters I know cringe when they hear this. Appropriately skilled employees are harder to come by now than ever before. Why? BizCommunity recently featured results of Deloitte’s 2011 best company to work for survey that gives some insight into this challenge, including these comments from Ricky Robinson, CEO of performance agency LRMG:

He suggests that what is happening is employees are being required to multi-skill and do more. In doing so, these employees are becoming more competent and hence more valuable to their organizations, and are suddenly finding themselves more mobile. At the same time, employers are far more reticent to employ inexperienced people, albeit that they may be well educated. Hence, a further talent vacuum is developing. The talent pool has suddenly become richer but at the same time a lot shallower.”

You can’t afford to lose your talent

In essence, because employers have cut staff, employees are taking on multiple roles, learning more and constantly growing their skills. As a result, companies can’t afford to lose the talent they have. The reality is, retention is a key issue today, even in the midst of high unemployment.

Mercer found the same thing in research released late last week:

Mercer’s HR & Mobility Challenges of Emerging Markets Survey found that more than half (59%) of participating organizations cite scarcity of local employees with the required technical skills as the most critical human resources challenge in emerging markets.”

So, how should organizations focus their efforts to retain staff in this environment? Robinson continues:

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According to Robinson, a successful talent strategy should ultimately ensure that talent is aligned to the organisation, is loyal to the organisation and wants to be part of the future success of the organisation. This can be achieved by taking certain organisational environment factors into consideration. ‘A culture of high performance, where good performance is consistently and equitably recognised and rewarded and consequences for poor performance are clearly understood, is a good starting point,’ he suggests.”

Consistent recognition is the key. Consistently, specifically, and authentically praising employee behaviors and achievements in line with your core objectives helps your employees understand that your company needs for success so they can align their efforts and contribute to that success. In fact, Robinson put it this way:

Employees should know where the company is going, why they are going there and what their specific roles are in this plan. There also need to be regular and robust feedback loops ensuring ongoing alignment.”

What are you doing to ensure your key performers aren’t on the front line in today’s war for talent?

You can find more from Derek Irvine on his Recognize This! blog.

Derek Irvine is one of the world’s foremost experts on employee recognition and engagement, helping business leaders set a higher vision and ambition for their company culture. As the Vice President of Client Strategy and Consulting at Globoforce, Derek helps clients — including some of world’s most admired companies such as Proctor and Gamble, Intuit, KPMG, and Thomson Reuters — leverage recognition strategies and best practices to better manage company culture, elevate employee engagement, increase retention, and improve the bottom line. He's also a renowned speaker and co-author of Winning with a Culture of Recognition. Contact him at irvine@globoforce.com.


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