The People Refrain: Caught in the Chorus of Talent

By Susan LaMotte on HRExaminer

“We’re a people-driven business.”
“Talent is our most important imperative.”

These anthems of almost every C-Suite leader ring loudly from the Fortune 100 to the struggling startup. Talent matters. We’re in a war. We need to find A-players. We need to keep high-potentials. They’re bold proclamations, yes. But it’s the same refrain every time.

When I was getting my MBA over ten years ago, many of my classmates pursuing finance and marketing careers didn’t see the value in HR or talent calling it soft and “touchy-feely.” And yet on several occasions a few years after graduation, those same classmates called me for advice. The request was always the same: “I didn’t realize hiring and keeping talent would be so hard. I need some help.”

Many professions are specialties—but every leader, every manager, regardless of job title—has to hire, manage, fire, and do it all over again. Yet most managers haven’t progressed their own talent strategy skills.

Deloitte’s 2018 Human Capital Trends Report found over 70% of respondents citing AI, robots, and automation as important. Yet, 52 percent of candidates are not even hearing back from employers 2-3+ months after they’ve applied, according to The Talent Board.

Think about that carefully. We’re so excited about the future of technology but we can’t even get back to job candidates in a timely fashion. If we can’t seem to update job seekers today, how are we going to manage complicated, algorithmic-driven robots to do it for us? We saw how well that worked for Amazon.

Trend-setting is important. Paying attention to how the world of work is shifting and considering the application to our own organizational challenges is key. But no matter how much strategic work we do in HR or talent acquisition, or how advanced our applicant tracking systems become, we won’t see any success without all of our colleagues on board.

Unless we teach all leaders the basics of effective attraction, recruitment, and selection, we’ll continue to sing the same chorus over and over again: “why can’t we fill these roles?” Here’s how you start with a fresh sheet of music..


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