Meeting the challenge for talent

It’s no secret that the pandemic had lasting effects on the workforce.

Some include a mass exodus of women from the workforce who chose their families over their careers. Working from home has certainly opened the eyes of employees and employers. Traveling to an office every day is not a necessity for many companies and employees.

Yet others have discovered that they are not as productive while working at home and appreciate going into work every day. Managers and leaders have been forced to deal with policies and constant changes based on advice from health care professionals. It seems that never before in the corporate world has the HR department and leadership been more important to the survivability of the company than during the past two years.

Many of the changes that were mandated now are part of the fabric of the work environment. Hybrid employee attendance is going to be a fact of life moving forward. For those companies that want and need women to come back to work full-time, they might have to consider providing child care as an important strategic hiring tool to be competitive. Family leave and more flexibility with employees to take care of family issues also will be an important benefit people will seek.

During the past 12 months, MRG’s search practice has been the busiest we’ve ever been during 33 years of business. The pandemic and difficulty recruiting might have something to do with this, but it also is due to the mass exodus of baby boomers who are retiring.

People have warned companies about talent-related risk management but very few considered this an issue because in the past they just recruited new senior leaders or promoted internal people. Many people who decided to retire early were affected psychologically by the risks of just simply going to work.

Between the pandemic and retirements, the one position we have conducted more searches for in the last year has been for chief HR professionals. Companies have come to the hard realization that the war for talent is critical and that talent is the major ingredient for future success.

One of our clients acknowledged the strategic nature of HR: “If we are going to compete, we need to ‘out people’ our competitors.”

Companies need competent HR leaders to develop new ideas and strategies for recruiting, leadership development, training, systems and processes. At this point, it is critical to retain the right people, identify people who are ready and prepared to move into executive roles, and develop recruiting strategies designed to attract qualified talent.

In the book, “The Executive Guide to High-Impact Talent Management,” written by David DeLong and Steve Trautman they outline these areas to be considered:

• Accurately diagnose talent-related risks that threaten performance.

• Efficiently evaluate and measure workforce and leadership investment.

• Ensure your staff is aligning talent processes to support business strategy.

• Accelerate leadership development and the transfer of critical knowledge.

• Communicate cultural principles that will drive recruitment, development and retention programs.

• Assess the talent management IQ and capabilities of your leadership team.

The challenges outlined are not always easy to manage without some support and advice. An experienced consultant can assist with many of these initiatives so you can create a talent strategy with confidence.