The Most Critical Business Choice You Face Every Day

In a market as changeable as the one we’re in right now, the turmoil surrounding talent acquisition is a problem faced by every company out there. With the number of open positions outnumbering job searchers almost two-to-one, there’s a mad dash to escalate salaries to fill seats – but is that the right way to attract the talent you need? Smart companies are slowing down and backing off a bit, as hiring wrong is wildly expensive – costing time, money and sometimes hard lessons that can often accompany employee turnover.

Why are staffing decisions so important and, in turn, so expensive if you make a mistake? Talent acquisition is critical to the success and growth of an organization. When you understand the cost and potential impact on an organization, particularly with leadership and customer-facing employees, it’s critical to get that right.

Research on the topic shows that employers are focusing more on “upskilling” and “reskilling” to have employees develop for future roles, using a “bird in the hand is worth two in the bush” philosophy.  According to Forbes, progressive-minded companies are trying to maximize talent density, because “it’s not always possible to hire that one person who’s perfect for the job. But you can hire people who have the greatest potential and propensity toward learning.”  Read more >

“According to a June 2020 survey conducted by Glint, a human resources software company owned by LinkedIn, an overwhelming number of employees — 97% — want to expand or at least continue the amount of time they spend learning. What’s more, opportunities to learn and grow have emerged as the strongest driver of work culture.”

Learning and development programs have become a must-have for companies looking to future-proof their employee base. For competitive-minded companies that want a custom approach that fits their own brand and culture, a packaged “training program” doesn’t cut it. It’s great to talk about learning and development options, but much more difficult to implement these programs than it might seem – especially if you don’t want to syndicate materials and methods that are available to anyone willing to subscribe.

Training and expanding the skillsets of employees with potential but not proven performance is a great idea, but it also takes a great deal of time. Many companies with critical roles to fill can’t wait for employees to learn the ropes.

When the need is short-term or immediate, many organizations are utilizing consultants or contractors to fill strategic or leadership gaps. In some cases, hiring short-term experts can accelerate the learning leap that key employees need to make to fill new roles. Like a visiting professor or a mentor-for-hire, external experts can be used to teach promising employees how to fill more senior roles, relying on their own, industry-specific learning and development past to “upskill” a client’s existing workforce.

“Many large enterprises around the world have viewed the need to upskill their current talent as urgent for the last few years and have invested millions — and in some cases, billions — in “future proofing” their employees, arming them with the skills required to adapt to changing work.” Read more >

If companies have capable employees they want to keep them, and if they don’t have the ones they need, there’s tremendous pressure being brought to bear on making the best possible talent acquisition choices.  Here’s why: for critical leadership and customer-facing positions, one bad choice can cost you dearly.

While many organizations are filling positions that are task oriented and needed for the day to day operation of the business, it’s critical to not compromise on strategic and customer facing hires. If a customer has a single bad experience, they might walk away, regardless of any positive history that might have come before. In today’s tumultuous marketplace, where supply chain, transportation, raw materials and many other marketplace factors are behaving erratically, the best constant that a company can rely on are quality employees in customer-facing roles. They hold the customer relationships, and they’re able to steer those relationships in positive directions when there are bumps in the road – and that’s money in the bank.

With leadership, the gamble is even greater, as executive or leadership positions are responsible for larger scale impact and programmatic decisions that can affect dozens or hundreds of customers. Today more than ever it’s important to consider the option of “rent vs. buy” when it comes to talent. Is your need project or program based? Is it a short term or a long term need? Is it specific to a skill or talent you may not have in an organization? Answering these and other questions about your needs, may lead to utilizing consulting or managed services experts that have experience and in-house expertise in these areas. 

Regardless of your hiring strategy, be cautious in the extreme when you’re considering offering permanent places on your team in leadership and customer-facing roles. While it may be tempting to fill seats fast with inflated salaries, that can easily lead to the need for cost reductions down the road when performance can’t sustain those payroll premiums. There’s not one right path here. The strongest approach for long-term success is to, wherever possible, look at upskilling current team members to take on new roles, injecting a diversity of expertise into your organization where you can.

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