The Unending “War for Talent”

There’s a popular saying in some HR circles today: “The ‘war for talent’ is over—and talent won.” 

We have seen this so-called war wax and wane with economic cycles, evolve with new technology, and intensify under globalization. It should now be clear to everyone that, whether we’re in good economic times or bad, in a period of stability or disruption, the skills shortage is an ever-present challenge. 

Hard-to-find talent and hard-to-fill jobs define the new world of work. To me, it is no longer a “war” to find and keep the best people; it’s a way of life. And HR professionals are using a variety of tactics and innovations to get ahead of it.

Now, under the strategic advice of HR professionals, company leaders are more frequently turning to internships, apprenticeships and work-study programs to prepare newly hired workers to meet the organization’s immediate needs. In addition, HR practitioners are tossing out the rulebook on what makes an “ideal” candidate. Companies can’t afford to overlook people who can make valuable contributions just because they don’t meet a checkbox requirement such as a high GPA, immediate availability, or a resume with the “right” job titles and work history. 

HR leaders are also being innovative about how they engage and sharpen the skills of their existing workforces. They understand that employees will do their best work when they know their company is investing in them and their future. 

We must continue building a workforce that is ready to meet the demands of the future. HR is leading the charge to develop talent in ways that benefit the community and advance our world. Partnering with local high schools, community colleges, workforce development boards and nonprofits helps us ensure that the right skills are being taught at the right time. 

Winning at talent today means taking an end-to-end approach to finding, developing and engaging our workforces. It’s a mindset that shifts us from fighting a “war” for the best and brightest to investing for the long term. 

The SHRM Blog does not accept solicitation for guest posts.

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