Talent Optimization in Unprecedented Times

Talent Optimization in Unprecedented Times

I have talked to close to 50 CEOs and business owners in the past two months. When inquiring how their business is, the response is a range from devastation to this being the best year ever. This range has caused a chain reaction in the talent sector that has forced furloughs, layoffs, and hiring sprees. This level of activity would normally have taken place over a one to two year period of time and has now been condensed into a couple of months.

In a recent HRB article, Now is an Unprecedented Opportunity to Hire Great Talent, Claudio Fernández-Aráoz points out some of the top areas companies should be focusing on to “seize the opportunity” of the talent currently available due to recent events.

  • Ask your top leaders to list three to five great players they would have liked to have hired over the past five years and then check in with those people.
  • Set up a task force to source potential candidates from target sectors and companies who may now be either jobless or open to change.
  • Go out of your way to motivate the best candidates. 
  • Interview and check references remotely with the same rigor you would in person.
  • Don’t ignore the sourcing, retaining, and development of in-house talent.

What is not as widely discussed in the article is the shift in business itself causing a shift in the talent that is needed. New organizations are arising out of the old. This includes:

  • Business pivots – companies providing a different product or service than a few months ago
  • Business optimizations – evaluating systems and automation
  • Business structures – remote workforces and leaning out the org chart

There is now an abundance of talent. One business was able to hire 60 FTEs of the 100 needed within a week. This would have been short of impossible three months prior. The number one question I urge all leaders to consider is what type of talent is now ‘great talent’ for our new organization.

In a recent discussion with interim HR executive, Doug Linn, he points out, “A lot of times companies tend to promote people based upon their technical abilities. I think it’s much, much more critical now to start looking really at their soft skills and their ability to deal with people than it ever is going to be about technical skills. The companies really need to think about having a technical ladder and a management ladder and make sure people still have a place to go and a way to progress with the company on the technical side, because the management side is going to be a lot different now. It’s going to really be more about addressing people and how they can influence down and look at their personal needs as opposed to just really the technical side and making sure people are productive.”

That business strategy we all worked long and hard on last year has most likely been replaced now by a 30, 60, 90 day strategic plan. What will our business look like in 3-6 months and what talent do we now need to reflect the new strategy.

Cerius Executives has partnered with Predictive Index , a leading talent analytics company, to provide talent optimization that connects the talent profile with the strategy. Before seizing the hiring opportunities now available, let’s make sure we are starting with the right talent profile.

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