As employers we are all active participants in the war for the talent, battling for the lowest acquisition cost and highest longterm productivity. We create marketing campaigns, develop job distribution channels seeking to reach the best employees, and perhaps we’ve been doing it wrong all along. Look around, maybe your next hire is sitting in the room already… A manager ready to be a director? Or a smooth talking sales person who could become an even better marketer?
One of the great opportunities to engage and retain employees is by fulfilling the often elusive “skills gap” by training, developing and providing resources for your top employees. But it’s more than just a skills gap. It’s a culture gap, a leadership gap or an engagement gap or a combination that leads employees to seek opportunities somewhere else.
In order to keep our employees engaged, we must go beyond skills gap training by creating an environment where they are appreciated, encouraged and actively sought after by internal leaders, as opposed to just our external recruiters, hiring managers, and contemporaries. We must create an internal war for talent, a fierce company competition in order to retain and expect the best from our managers as well as our best employees.
By taking the war for talent internal, we encourage higher performance because employees know there are more options for their career development within your organization. The chance to become a leader within the organization is for the taking. Creating a competitive internal talent marketplace focused on developing an employee’s career at a single organization – instead of going through the motions like we often do with the employee – is the smart move because a little healthy competition is a very, very good thing.
Sport psychologists have demonstrated for years the effects of competition on enhancing performance. Think about the Olympics where world records are broken in competition as others push you further than you ever have performed before.
Taking the war for talent and competition internal won’t be easy. You’ll loose some B players as they realize that average is no longer enough. Managers will resist and employees too because the competitive marketplace brings out the best and worst in people, but maybe it’s the type of organizational and culturally cleansing your company really needs.
Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is a workplace and technology strategist specializing in social media. She’s an author who writes at Blogging4Jobs, Huffington Post and Smart Brief. When she talks, people listen.
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