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Understanding the War on Talent

March 26, 2019 Charlie Denys

Great organizations are comprised of great people.  In order to be successful and maintain a position as an industry leader, key development roles within an organization must be filled with the best and brightest, capable of leading and inspiring team members, with the capacity and desire to guide companies in the right direction for all stakeholders involved.  With the buzz of labor shortages on the horizon and a growing uncertainty of what the jobs of tomorrow will look like, how companies hire and retain talent needs to be a priority in their growth strategy.

The following are some of the major changes that will impact employers in the immediate to near future, as well as some of the different ways employers can potentially improve their hiring strategy and best mitigate their risk for turnover.

The Millennial Takeover

One of the largest changes is the makeup of the workforce.  Over the next decade we will experience one of the largest workforce shifts in terms of age and employee headcount. Since 2016, millennials have made up the largest demographic of working people. By 2020, that number will rise to 50% and by 2025 they will make up 75% of the total workforce.  Thanks to major advances in IT, this group of workers is incredibly technologically savvy, having the ability to access information at unprecedented speeds. Larger organizations with their slow, gradual adaptations will have to streamline and become more aggressive to attract this new group of workers.

Competition is at an All-Time-High

The business landscape is constantly shifting. As the talent pool shrinks due to a wide swath of factors – from the emergence of the gig economy to a simple lack of qualified individuals – competition for talent has become unrelenting regardless of industry, types of goods and services produced or even strength of company brand. Technology continues to level the playing field, empowering smaller businesses to compete in ways they previously were unable. Automation, for example,  allows for any organization to compete in a shrinking talent pool because costs associated with those functions are continually becoming less expensive. What’s more, a smaller organization might be able to adapt more quickly to changes in the market than a enterprise with thousands of employees. Companies that don’t keep pace and continue to evolve with technology won’t survive.

Work Environment and Company Culture

For many people, the work week no longer fits nicely into the standard 9-to-5, 40-hour time frame.  Often times it can stretch to well beyond 40 hours a week, and on-the-clock hours extend past time spent physically in the office.  Working long hours in an uninspiring environment, or not having the option to work remotely, can have profound psychological effects on an already pressed mindset. Through the help of social scientists, organizations are creating environments designed to keep employees satisfied at every level of the talent management cycle, from recruitment through succession planning, signaling a shift from short-term engagement programs to long-term organizational design. It should also be noted that work environments are even more important to millennials, often citing flexible schedules and positive company culture as a top priority.

Understanding these emergent trends is critical to securing top talent in the years to come. Organizations will have to adapt and reorient their recruitment strategies to appeal to millennials (and the Gen Z’ers!) entering the workforce. Hiring managers need to take a step back, assess, and start prioritizing work-life balance and company culture if they want to remain competitive and win the never-ending war on talent.

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