Where Has All the Talent Gone?

By: Pierre Morrisseau, CEO, OneGroup

Organizations around the globe are struggling with a talent shortage. It is a serious topic
for CEOs looking not only to grow their businesses coming out of the pandemic, but to ensure they can continue to offer their customers the highest degree of products and services.

According to a recent ManpowerGroup Talent Shortage survey, globally, 70% of employers report challenges hiring in high-demand areas, particularly in logistics, manufacturing, IT, sales and marketing. Our area of specialty—risk management and insurance—is also facing a talent drain as our most knowledgeable workforce retires and new talent is hard to find.

To manage the talent shortage challenge, organizations need to think differently about how they source, acquire and retain top talent. For both short- and long-term success, we need to continually be building a pipeline of qualified, desirable candidates albeit from a smaller pool, and increasing our agility in matching candidate’s personal goals and speed to hire.

As our firm, like most, was hunkered down as we entered the pandemic, I recognized the need to find innovative ways to source candidates even as they retreated to their homes or moved to new locations. What I came to realize was the paradigm shift in the employer-employee relationship had opened more doors than it closed. We now had ready access to the best talent wherever they wanted to work and in the ways that better fit their lifestyles. The rapid advancement in technologies also gave me access to global resources that could tap into that talent pool.

In a recent conversation with Nick Hoadley, managing director of UK-based Insurance Search, industry recruiters as well as founder and host of the Insurance Coffee House podcast, the #1 Insurance Leadership and Career Development Podcast on iTunes and Spotify, we discussed new ways to find and retain talent.

I asked Nick what he sees as the most important things a candidate wants from working with a company. I asked if it was having job security, great pay or something else that we should be aware of. Nick, through his broad global experience defined today’s younger candidate as caring far less about job security or money. He found that the best candidates were those whose personal values best aligned with the company both in terms of their personal growth and fulfillment, but also in terms of social and community values. He pointed out that today’s generation is more about continually learning and progressing in multiple varied positions. This is the secret sauce to retaining the best talent.
This led me to thinking about how successful startups happen, which in turn led me to letting go of past norms and rethinking how we could be more flexible and innovative when it comes to growing talent. I realized if the typical young person fresh out of college was going to have 6-8 job changes, why couldn’t we create a process that let them do that inside of our company? We have seen great success with encouraging our employees to look around the company and if they think they would like to make a change, to try it. We have had people who were highly analytical but had not realized their passion until they tried their hand in a new area of our business. Furthermore, we continue to evolve our business model to foster “startups” within our larger business. We want our people to experiment and to feel they “own” it, that their investment is valuable and appreciated. A major part of this new thinking is providing flexible rewards that better match an employee’s personal goals. We have seen this not only empowers and invigorates the employee, it brings many new ideas to our firm and is boosting our productivity and profitability.

Another important point made by Nick was employers must continue to build a database of desirable candidates and to invest in building relationships with these candidates. He espouses using social media, advertising, media, website, blogs, and other means to share stories about your company. Storytelling is the best way to share our true values, how we treat each other, our culture and our commitment to community. Through consistent messaging, candidates come to know us and become familiar with us, leaving us to place our full focus on the candidate and what is important to them in their career choice. It allows us to speed their decision-making process, so we are less apt to lose great candidates in this highly competitive environment.

Where has all the talent gone? The answer is talent is all around us and we all must work a little harder and a lot smarter to find, attract and retain them.

I would love to hear what you are doing to build your workforce and always happy to share what we are doing to grow our business.