The ‘War for Talent’ is NOT just about the challenges an organization faces in attracting and recruiting the right people, at the right time and at the right cost. This is just one of the many battles that the business enterprises are grappling with.

Organizations today are fighting two types of battles in the war, day in and day out. One with the external forces while attracting and recruiting people, and the others, within the organization for retention and engagement of the existing employees. At stake are thousands of ‘open positions’ that can give fulfilling careers to aspiring professionals and thousands of great candidates who can work towards fulfilling an organization’s aspirations.

This grim war for talent has created an epic separation between dream jobs and dream candidates. Finding the ‘right’ talent has never been as difficult as in the current times.

While every organization, obviously, wants to win this war, a rare few have the strategic and tactical capabilities to protect and expand their talent territories. A vast majority does not even have a comprehensive understanding of what it will take to survive, let alone win.

No war has any room for surprises. Yet, the landmine of surprises keeps every recruiter awake today. Will the candidate fit in the culture of the organization? Is s/he really competent? Will the person be successful in the organization? Can s/he deliver on expectation? Above all will the person show up on the date of joining? An organizations ability to correctly ‘predict’ the next move of the candidates, often, is a decisive component of the winning strategy. At Oracle we are helping a client develop advanced algorithms using big data analytics that will accurately predict probability of joining of each candidate and prepare accordingly. This is going to be a very potent war head for their hiring and recruiting teams. From time immemorial, battles are lost and won on the accuracy of information and analytics.

The great Sun Tzu’s advice “Knowing the enemy enables you to take the offensive, knowing your-self enables you to stand on the defensive” is particularly relevant in the context of the war for talent.

Ironical as it may sound, a vast majority of large, complex and successful organizations today do not understand the realities of their own talent. Case in point being a very large global technology company that was ‘laying-off’ people in one of its business units and took the services of the world’s largest provider of outplacement services, I headed in India a couple of years ago. The same client, at the same time, was recruiting people with the same skill sets in it’s another business unit. Funny, isn’t it?

The first component, therefore, in the corporate arsenal has to be a holistic, real time view of the organizational talent landscape and its distribution across businesses.

Effective planning and timely spreading of a ‘desired’ message can turn fortunes for battalions. While the white pigeons and drum stroking messengers are long dead, social platforms spread messages like fire today. Organizations must deploy tactfully crafted messages through the right channels across social networks to gain the right momentum. Recently, a large Indian conglomerate faced a massive blow to its employer brand when a ‘lay-off’ conversation went viral on the social media. The chairman of the multibillion dollar conglomerate himself had to fight from the front to salvage the situation. More often than not, the war for talent is fought and won on social media platforms.

The battle unfortunately does not end here. Just as the organization thought that the toil was over, a new war-cry is heard – this time within the organization. According to a study, 30% of the employees make up their minds to leave the company within the first 3 days of joining. They then spend next 6-8 Months looking for the right opportunities. On boarding experience has a clear correlation with the longevity of an employee in any organization. New recruits must be provided intensive care during their on boarding process and not just left unattended as trophies won from hard fought battles.

Lao Tzu further says “Unhappy is the fate of one who tries to win his battles and succeed in his attacks without cultivating the spirit of enterprise; for the result is waste of time and general stagnation”

Ineffective managers, dis-empowering policies, biased decision making, un-assimilated restructuring etc. are all like traitors within that lead kingdoms to defeat. While they must be identified and rooted out immediately, primitive HR systems have no way to unearth such traitors. Organizations will need to evolve their unique mechanisms using ultra powerful technologies like cloud computing and AI.

The best way to win the war for talent is simply to not participate in it. However, this can be the luxury of only few unique organizations. Organizations, which have built an infallible fortress of culture, capability and compassion in this connected digital world.

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