The War for Talent is Internal, Not External

There is a very real war for talent that has been going on for well over a decade, and is still happening today.  I have written some articles about it previously.  But the war for talent isn’t really happening because of the limited number of people with skills that are available to an employer.  To be sure, in some industries and some job classes there are a limited number of people with the skills available right now to be able to do those given jobs.  But there are countless of people that are out there who have the potential to acquire those skills.  The “talent” isn’t in the skills, but rather the entire “package” of the person.  It is their mindset and attitude about work.  It is their willingness and ability to learn.  It is their desire to achieve something larger than themselves and be a part of something worthwhile.

What makes this a war for talent isn’t the fact that there are so few people out there with talent, but rather that there are so few organizations out there that can unleash these peoples’ potential.  Organizations have archaic systems that create high levels of unengagement and disengagement.  These systems take good people and break them down so that they are no longer willing to learn, take initiative, or go that extra mile when needed.  Even if the best are hired, it isn’t long before they are like the rest of the organization; unmotivated and disenchanted.

To win the war for talent, it isn’t enough for an organization to go out and hire the best.  It first has to create a culture that will allow the best and everyone else to actually be their best.  Create a culture like that, and you might just find that you already have a whole lot of the best already working for you.  It is amazing how much energy is unleashed when an organization allows its employees to retain their Personal Power.  If the organization has done a good job of amplifying that energy through the Strengths of the employees and the organization; and then focused that energy on the core of the organization, its Purpose, Values, and Goals; then that organization can easily increase performance significantly.

But it all begins with Trust.  If Trust does not exist in the organization then nothing else will work.  Employees won’t care about the Vision of the organization, and managers will not care about helping employees to leverage their strengths.  As a result, Personal Responsibility will be shirked.  Managers won’t trust employees to do the right thing, and employees won’t trust managers to not punish them when things go wrong.  After all, when things go wrong it is more likely a system’s issue rather than a conscious decision by an employee to do something wrong.

Yes, the war for talent continues to rage, but it is a war that is being won or lost not by the acquisition of the best employees at any cost.  Rather, it is a war that is being won based on the principles and values of the organization, and whether it places value and trust with its employees.   Start Building Trust in your organization.  Live it on a daily basis with your managers, employees, and customers.  If you do this it won’t be long before you find your organization very quickly moving down the Path to Performance™, as everyone will begin clamoring for clarity of the organization’s Vision and people will soon want to use their Strengths to become masters of what they do.  At that point Personal Responsibility can’t help but to take hold and flourish in the organization.  It has to if managers Trust employees and employees Trust managers.

So stop focusing on the external issues in this War for Talent and focus on what you can do internally to insure that your organization will win.  Make your organization the best that it can be at building the positive relationships with employees, customers, and others that are necessary to move your organization from mediocrity to becoming the best.  If you do this, then you will attract those that possess the potential to learn and grow and make your organization exceptional.


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