Talent: The Currency of Competitive Advantage

May 25, 2016

Perry Puccetti


As described in Don’t Crack Under Pressure Part I: A Business Diagnostic, and Part II: Managing Tension, a business’ ability to make money is directly influenced by how well it understands the cause and effect relationships between the various pressures that businesses face, how effectively it manages tension, and addresses the symptoms that serve as leading indicators requiring action to be taken.

This blog describes how the Business Diagnostic can be applied to Talent as a Service (TaaS).

Applying the Business Diagnostic.

Ecosystem level forces are the underlying macro events or trends that serve as a “catalyst” requiring businesses to make decisions or take actions that address the pressures created by these events or trends.

Globalization and the increasing demand for a technologically skilled workforce has created a shortage of skilled talent. A Bloomberg BusinessWeek survey on Global Economics showed that over one-third of the 38,000 companies surveyed in 41 countries and territories reported that they were unable to find the talent they needed. In Asia, 45% of employers report difficulties in finding the right talent to hire. In the Americas, 41% faced similar challenges – and the trend continues to increase.  In addition, the fundamental dynamic between companies and their employees has changed. Today, employees find job security not in the company itself, but in their individual knowledge and their application of that knowledge to create value – in other words, job “security” is found with the employee and not necessarily with the company. 

Job “security” is found with the individual, not necessarily with a company

Enterprise level forces are the direct effect caused by the Ecosystem level macro events/trends and the resultant decisions and actions that must be taken by business leaders at the enterprise level that are a direct response to these pressures.

As a result, more than 33% of businesses are unable to find the talent they need. Key issues are lack of hard skills (e.g., IT knowledge and technology skills), insufficient work experience, lack of soft skills, lack of “employability”, (e.g., characteristics such as motivation and interpersonal skills), unrealistic salary expectations, and unwillingness to work part time. In addition, many companies, instead of hiring full-time employees to tackle short-term technology projects are hiring contingent workers who are highly skilled in those areas – this trend places additional demand on a limited pool of talent. Additionally, regional factors may come into play in finding qualified talent.  

Any talent you don’t have is a critical one

Business unit level pressures are the direct effect caused by the Enterprise level pressures. The resultant decisions and actions that must be taken by business units as a result of the decisions and actions made at the Enterprise level – these are the day-to-day business challenges that are solved on a day-to-day basis.

Many organizations continue to try and acquire critical talent under this old paradigm; failing to understand that this shift in value creation/job security and the talent acquisition methods required to obtain the best talent is a fundamental shift, not a temporary one. 

In order to compete and win in the race for talent, where time is nobody’s friend, you must know what your critical talent needs are: do you require FTEs or consultants; can you use CAPEX versus OPEX; are they long-term needs/part of your core business; or, short-term project-based needs such as an ERP implementation; and perhaps a very basic question – where do you find top talent?

At the end of the day, technologies and processes can be copied, quickly negating any competitive advantage they may have provided. What cannot be copied is what is in the heart and minds of your employees; this is your true competitive advantage.

The team with the best talent wins

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