by Kevin Smith, MBA SPHR HCS, President, Leaderstone and The Kevin Shabaar Smith Co

The leaders of successful 21st century organizations understand the paradigm shift that has occurred over the last few decades. Gone are the days when long-term competitive advantage could be obtained through the purchase of new technology, the leveraging of supply chains, or even geographic location. History has shown these to be temporary advantages – typically copied over time. However, there is one element of every organization that cannot be mimicked….. the workforce.

As more organizations come to understand that a highly engaged workforce is the only long-term competitive advantage, quality, highly engaged employees seem more difficult to come by. This is causing a critical competitive shift in efforts to find, attract and keep quality talent. We refer to this as The Talent Grab.

How secure are you about your current workforce? Many organizational leaders feel their employees are satisfied with their current job, but do you know how many of your employees would leave tomorrow if given another offer? In today’s environment, human resources within an organization needs to be transformed from a series of administrative tasks to an invaluable strategic function. Components of this strategy include:

Workforce Planning: Organizations investing time and resources into strategic workforce planning will have a distinct competitive advantage over those that wait and react to change. Companies need a framework to best define and optimize a workforce that can execute the organization’s strategy into the future.

Talent Acquisition: Many organizations view talent acquisition simply as a recruiting process. Effective acquisition includes attracting the right people, implementing an effective selection process, and ultimately on-boarding the right people, for the right function, at the right time. Effective organizations understand the days of simply filtering through applications are over. There is a very competitive market for skilled employees and organizations utilizing defined acquisition practices are winning the war for talent.

Workforce Engagement: According to Gallup, actively disengaged employees cost the organization $3,400 for every $10,000 in salary. Leaders today need to learn strategies to increase engagement levels significantly within their organization. It’s all about knowing your employees- what motivates them?, how can you help them become more productive?, what makes them happy?

Leadership Development: Effective employee development is much more comprehensive than just training. Critical components of effective employee and leadership development includes creating work experiences, implementing coaching systems, and performing periodic training needs analysis.

It’s often said that an organization’s people are its best asset. However, this is only true if those people are engaged and performing the right function at the right time. Any other situation represents a liability to the organization as people work at less than 100% effectiveness. A May 2023 McKinsey & Company article states that talent management includes all of the ways organizations bring employees on board, keep them happy and productive, and help them continue to develop their skills over time. “It’s important to manage talent and deploy it well, and leaders need to know how to rise to the occasion. To help shape a workforce that has skills to achieve, leaders can establish a talent-first culture. Too many organizations don’t consider the talent required to implement different ideas. By putting talent first, companies can improve organizational performance and potentially gain a competitive advantage.”

Side Note: Kevin Smith will facilitate a 2-day Talent Grab workshop in Erie on November 6 & 7. See more details and register here.