The Global Talent Crunch

A company's longterm talent management should incorporate several key elements into the recruiting, training and positioning process. Examples include Generation Y encouragement, finding employees' corporate culture niche, and enabling technology-based automation of discrete talent functions. Ruth Stanat covers ways of ensuring an efficient talent management system.

A company's longterm talent management should incorporate several key elements into the recruiting, training and positioning process. Examples include Generation Y encouragement, finding employees' corporate culture niche, and enabling technology-based automation of discrete talent functions. Ruth Stanat covers ways of ensuring an efficient talent management system.



One of the most daunting challenges in today’s global economy is the “Talent crunch” and challenges in scouting, recruiting, and growing talented people in your firm. Ageing societies are struggling to find the “right” people to run complex and high technology processes.

According to Softscape’s recent "State of Global Talent Management" market research report in February 2009 survey of 200 HR professionals:

  • The HR organization is considered strategic by a majority of companies, 78% of companies.
  • HR professionals (59 percent) still believe their workforces are not adequately prepared to meet their companies' future plans.
  • More than 70 percent of companies are still primarily paper-based in two or more of their key talent management processes, with smaller companies lagging significantly behind.
  • Technology-enabled automation of discrete talent functions is providing significant opportunities for cost containment. Explosive growth in the use of more "strategic" cross-functional HR metrics leveraging workforce analytics is expected during 2009.
  • Two-thirds of the companies surveyed - and 76 percent of large enterprises - believe that it is very important to measure and communicate the impact of their HR programs with metrics, key performance indicators, and workforce analysis.


SIS International Research has extensive background on this issue, particularly with an angle on integrating Generation Y to meet the challenges in the Talent Crunch. Here are some insights into using Talent Management for longterm competitiveness.


Spotting Talent

A robust Talent Management function within a company hires beyond the traditional model of looking only at skills; instead, they hire by “talent.” Focusing on defining the talent needed to reach organizational goals, and building a plan to make certain you have the talent available are the crucial first step in a robust TM function.

Their approach goes beyond an external approach. Managers need to be able to know their own talents, requiring a great deal of introspection. A secure leader has no problem in hiring people better than themselves.

As part of a company’s longterm Talent Management procedures, much of the scouting process involves getting both managers and members of Generation Y on board. Generation Y has fundamentally different objectives in their behavior, outlook and interaction in the workplace. Generation Y, as a baby boom generation, is widely considered one of the most important generations in advancing a rapidly ageing workforce.


One Model Integrating Generation Y into Companies for Competitive Advantage

SIS International has built a model that proactively integrates very talented members Generation Y in creative development, strategic planning and research. Essentially, the goal is to harness both the strengths of older and younger generations, while minimizing the intergenerational tensions that often arise in corporate settings.

Embracing Generation Y is one possible method. For example at SIS, managers fully embrace the youth. We provide them with an uncommon opportunity for experience and confidence to allow them the opportunity to thrive. And through their perspectives, we have considered many new initiatives that have continued to our success, our commitment to innovation and ability to provide high degrees of client value. But, what works in our company may not work in others. It is a matter of striking the right balance between strategy and culture.


A War for Talent During this Recession

The war for talent is going global, due to cost efficiencies and an understanding of the dramatic shift of emphasis and economic growth from the West to the East.

I predict that the Global financial crisis and recession is wreaking havoc on global talent management. Stanat says, “Tons of articles lecture companies on layoffs. But many managers are concerned with survival and solvency, or put bluntly their jobs will be in jeopardy. This is a very important consideration for recruiters. But, they need to track the market for signs of recovery. When the economy comes back in the future, I expect a war for talent due to seismic changes to the workforce happening right now.”


Alignment with your Culture

The Talent Management function certainly considers necessary skills and the candidates’ ability to grow their skills, applying them to core business processes and leading change. Talent Managers analyze the candidate’s ability to fit within the corporate culture, viewing corporate culture as a valuable competitive advantage. For certain companies, integrity, responsibility and character are important in ensuring that the company’s longterm interests will be fulfilled. For example, many financial services firms look to ensure that their new talent are group-oriented to minimize self-serving behavior that could potentially endanger their firms.

Aligning talent with corporate culture is not fluffy marketing jargon. A strong corporate culture with employees on board contributes to strong competitive advantages in companies like Southwest and Apple.

In corporations with rigid organizational structures, there can often be significant numbers of talented people. But, it is often the case that talent do not feel valued, respected or do not feel a sufficient amount of freedom to conceive and implement creative ideas.


Maximizing Value in Talent Management

Many companies push to build environments that cultivate robust relationships with talent acquisitions. This is because of the sheer value of the talent in the company’s operations and the competition that could arise if the talent acquisition is unsatisfied. Also, companies want to ensure that their talent will thrive, even if the corporate culture is rigid. Many companies consider the best way to do so is by creating for their talented staff a network of robust relationships based on truth, reliability and trust.

I wrote in my book “The Intelligent Corporation” about the need to share information prior to the Information Revolution and provided a framework for doing so back then. Now, the need is even more evident. Companies like Accenture and IBM have integrated complex knowledge sharing systems to get their consultants in contact with talented experts throughout the corporation to immediately disseminate high level technical knowledge. The take-away here is in implementing processes allowing the company to immediately harness and make use of their talent.


A longterm perspective

Talent Management is a long term process, with three potential ways to continually cultivate their talent:

  • Retrain – have to retrain people and ensure that they have the right resources to execute
  • Reposition – do not discard antiquated talent, but help reposition them periodically according to their strengths to the company
  • Retire – plan with your staff their retirements and futures to build goodwill and loyalty


This content was written by Ruth Stanat, President at SIS International Research. Visit their website at

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