Don’t Panic: The Issue With The War For Talent Is You

How long will you ruminate about the “war for talent”? Don’t panic, I will make it all easier by being your therapist and explaining why the problem is “you”, the leader. This “war for talent” has been described as being the complete undoing of companies who don’t anticipate their workforce needs and engage with the right communities of talent. My opinion is that companies are at war with themselves. They can’t get out of their own way. It is far easier for them to sit back, have a few meetings about how they will engage the next generation of workers and drink the proverbial kool-aid that is being served by experts about the doom and gloom of having no one qualified to hire in the near future. What becomes difficult to swallow, is this idea that companies have to exponentially change the way they work. Moreover, it thoroughly annoys them that the changes they have to make are to adapt to prospective candidates.

The Issue With The War For Talent Is You

[Tweet “According to @KPMG, 59% believe there is a new war for talent that is different than in the past.”]

Since when did candidates get the upperhand…

The thought of leading technology-facilitated organizations, adapting your operations to allow a better blend of work and life for employees, adequately compensating employees for their work, opening up leadership roles and development to women and minorities are hard things to do when you have been a kept leader. The ride has been sweet for many in enterprise level companies and even some SMB’s;  huge salaries, company perks, trips, bonuses, everyone looks like you, laughs like you and speaks like you in the boardroom-are just a few of the legacy perks. Suddenly, your company’s success relies on your ability to shift with your workforce’s needs and you have no clue how we arrived at this juncture.

[Tweet ” @KPMG says, 66% believe having a talent strategy that meets the needs of all employees is key.”]

The future looks lean and mean…

Heaven help us, if your precious hierarchy is now flat. Stop the presses, if you don’t take home that $80,000 bonus this year. Clutch your pearls, because now there is a change in perspective at all levels and it isn’t monochromatic. The”war for talent” has never been about a true shortage, but about a deliberate haughtiness we have in this country about who can get the job done and changing with the times. Don’t get me wrong, when we speak about STEM jobs, there is something to be said for the lack of people educated and prepared to enter technical fields in the future. However, for everything else, I believe we are sitting on capable pools of talent some of which have been unemployed long-term. Additionally, there are others who are employed and yearning for development, a chance to demonstrate their abilities or the unique opportunity to shift gears and do something a little different. Your employees are tired of “no” being your answer. The deafening silence where career progression questions never get answered is a silent talent killer as well.

If you subscribe to the idea that all employees are expendable expect to be at war for talent, but don’t blame anyone for your failed talent management and business efforts, but yourself. Stop relying on the next trumped-up, doom and gloom workforce catastrophe as an excuse for your unwillingness to deviate from “what you have always done”. Your business will fail if you don’t start creating talent management practices that focus on the humans that are powering your operation. Innovation and adaptability can be lonely places when you are trying to forge a new path, but it is imperative to your continued success in the future. Take a closer look at your workforce. There could be missed opportunities, future leaders poised for a challenge, or works-in-progress that just need a little coaching. Put your talent first by investing in them and providing them with opportunities to do work they love -while growing professionally. They will appreciate you for it and spread the word which can only help you escape the fate of being a “war for talent”casualty.

Check out @KPMG ‘s War For Talent Infographic here:



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