Article Snapshot

We’ve probably all seen and read more than enough to know that an organisation’s need for great people likely far outweighs those people’s need for them. In countless sectors demand for skills is already well outstripping current supply and the development of these skills can’t keep up with forecasted growth either.

Despite all this - and excluding those especially rare exceptions - many of the skills you are looking for do actually exist. A big challenge organisations are facing though, is that these skills don’t readily exist ‘on the market’; the people with them aren’t actively shopping around for a job hoping they can impress someone enough to be given an opportunity. No, they are already doing the work they want to do, the way they want to do it.

McKinsey reports that 70% of executives expect to use more contractors and contingent workers than they did pre-pandemic. That 70% might be on to something...

Is the way you work your biggest barrier to top talent?

If the people you desperately need in order to delight more customers, develop new products and services or run your business better aren’t already working for you, it’s likely because they haven’t been given a strong enough reason to.

The solution is broadly two-fold:

  1. A great employee value proposition (EVP) - the reasons employees are attracted to join you.
  2. A great contingent value proposition (CVP) - the reasons contingent workers are attracted to work with you.

The latter - CVP - is becoming ever-more important. And not having a defined CVP might be your biggest clue in answering the question of why you can’t seem to find the people you need: because there’s a disconnect between the way they want to work, and the way you want them to.  

The question business leaders need to be asking is:

How can we make our organisation as attractive as possible to people who have the skills we need?

Crucially, this can’t just be through the lens of “how do we attract people to work here?”. Instead, think of it as “how do we attract people to lend us their skills and expertise to help make our business better?”.

This changing dynamic of what constitutes an organisation’s workforce is nicely defined by Markus Graf, VP HR and Global Head of Talent at Novartis, who is quoted in a recent MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte study. He says the Novartis workforce is made up of all “those people who contribute to executing work against our purpose and business strategy”.

Embracing the fact that contribution towards your business goals can come from all manner of resource engagement types will have a profound impact on your access to skills and talent.

Considerations for making your business more attractive to the skilled talent you need include:

  • Does your approach to remote or hybrid working flex depending on the availability (or scarcity) of skills or the type of work someone will be performing?
  • Are you open to part-time contributions from skilled professionals instead of asking them to mirror your ‘core’ work patterns?
  • Are you comfortable that you may not be the only organisation your workforce are working for at any point in time?
  • Can you break your jobs down into smaller tasks or outputs against which you can more readily pinpoint and find the skills you need, rather than seeking a “unicorn” - someone who ticks 100% of the boxes?
  • Could you use a skilled contingent workforce to up skill your permanent employees?
  • How do you notify skilled professionals of all the ways in which you could utilise their skills to make it easy for them to find you?
  • Are you set up to provide positive and streamlined experiences to everyone who seeks and/or delivers work for you, so that they’ll willingly come back to you next time you need them?

Asking some of these questions, let alone taking meaningful action off the back of them, might represent a radical cultural shift for parts of your organisation. But in this current market, and with TA teams straining under immense pressure to deliver the capability businesses need, they could very well be the most important things your organisation does to supercharge its success.

What do you think? Where have you had success affecting change and improving your organisation’s access to skilled talent?

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