We all know demographics and knowledge economic forces are conspiring to create a "talent war." If we are not in the human resources or workforce management consulting areas, how can we best help our clients?
Great question. It is logical to think that with the recession, the pressure to find talent might be reduced for a few years. Good employees are going to stay while those around them are being laid off or are wary of changing jobs and losing any seniority. However, consider a survey by salary.com earlier this year that found, even in this recession, that 2 of 3 employees were actively or passively looking for jobs. This is almost twice the rate employers estimated.
The most talented employees are logically looking for opportunities inside and outside the companies in which they work. As the economy undergoes major shifts, more opportunities and new challenges will certainly open up at other companies. Because they will remember how they and their colleagues were treated when times were tough, they will act on bad treatment as soon as the economy improves. Probably the best thing you can do for your client is to assure that they clearly show their employees how valuable they are and to carefully consider what may be considered by employees as a lack of loyalty. Executives must level with employees, even letting them know that they don't know. Historically, this may not have been the right advice, but in this environment, when your best employees are more mobile than ever (and more are Gen X and Gen Y, for whom loyalty means less than for Boomers), disclosure and engagement are critical.Tip:
Joe Pine (The Experience Economy: Work Is Theater & Every Business a Stage
) and others talk about how increasingly important experience is to a brand. This is true for employees as well as customers. Help your client make the employee experience more meaningful and trusting by not focusing on negotiating benefits, or promising more benefits when the economy turns around. If layoffs occur, use your skills in technology, strategy, process, or other discipline to help your client understand what elements of those activities in which you are an expert employees find most valuable or most significantly impact the employee experience. © 2009 Institute of Management Consultants USA