Winning the War for Talent

When I talk to companies in the BC Interior about their business plans, strategies and goals, they put an enormous emphasis on hiring people with the right experience. They’re engaged head on in “Winning the War for Talent”.

WarforTalent400pxWRecent conversations with my clients about their War for Talent typically look like this:

“We pay competitively and have a top notch benefit package;
We have very strong employer brand appeal that reinforces that we’re a cool place to work;
Kamloops and Kelowna are such affordable cities to live in with an unsurpassed quality of life plus all the amenities of Vancouver or Calgary – so why can’t we hire and retain the highly skilled people we need?”

Employment and Social Development Canada made it very clear to the whole nation that the BC Interior and the Okanagan regions have the fastest growing economies delivering increased exports, and crucially, the regions had the highest employment growth in Canada over 2013. This is expected to increase further over 2014.

This means companies everywhere will be competing hard for good talent, and my guess is that this will be particularly noticeable in the industrial trades sector throughout the BC Interior /Okanagan.

The reason being that northern BC and AB resource based industries are continuously luring our skilled talent with wages that are 30, 50 or even 70% higher than the norm for Southern BC employers.

Take heart. There are some lessons we can learn from one another. In fact here are some amazing lessons from some of BC’s best employers at Winning the War for Talent.

Winning the War For Talent Strategy #1 – Build Relationships

Nothing spells success louder than a company who is willing to invest some good will during the interviewing process. This involves showing respect for candidates, and how you demonstrate this will go a long way. Following up in a timely manner, referring them to others in your community, and letting them know you value their time and talent. This tells talented job seekers that you’re an employer worth keeping an eye on.

They get job seekers and employees to see the potential first and the payout as secondary.
Compensation may stop someone from hating their job, but it certainly won’t keep them in place when a competitor lures them with the same or higher salary, and a happier work environment with more potential for career growth and training.

Winning the War For Talent Strategy #2 – Make Recruiting Your Number One Priority

What I see over and over in conversations with employers about the war for talent, is that this is no longer about just the core business or executive positions — it’s about every position. Savvy business owners know that investing in good people is their number one success strategy. Replacing key employees is a financial and emotional burden that nobody wants.

ABR – Always Be Recruiting.  This holds true for the hiring managers, yes, but it must start at the top with the President and CEO. Tomorrow always comes a lot sooner than most of us are prepared for. Therefore winning companies invest in the resources they need — people! — to achieve the strategy they’ve set forth. That means keeping a continuous  and watchful eye for the talent needed today, and tomorrow.

Winning the War for Talent Strategy #3 – Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses

Knowing your strengths and weaknesses enables you focus on the essential skills you need to hire for. Most start-ups are owner operator business models with a market fit that the founder has established through his or her skills and expertise. What you don’t need is more of the same.

You may be brilliant at social media and technology trending, but what experience do you have in areas that are essential to build and grow your company? Have you built and managed a sales team? Do you know how to transition a successful start-up into a global competitor? Avoid the DIY learn from experience trap. When the time is right, take the next right step by investing in the advice, experience and track record of professionals who know the ropes.

Winning the War for Talent Strategy #4 – Use Your Community

Short on contacts in one or more areas you need to hire in? Aside from our team of highly skilled recruiters, there are many other local resources you can call on – Kelowna Chamber of Commerce, Kamloops Chamber of Commerce, Venture Kamloops, Invest Kelowna and other economic development offices located throughout the BC Interior and Okanagan, plus a host of industry and trade associations. These organizations are all staffed with people just waiting to find ways to help you be more successful.

Create a great pre-hire candidate experience. Then deliver on your post-hire promises by building a fair, trusting, and open work environment for your employees. This will ensure that you will always be able to hire and retain A-level talent, and that your team will be committed to helping you achieve your goals and dreams. You can’t get much better than that at Winning the War for Talent!
The experienced headhunters at Ashton Associates have more than 40 years of combined experience, recruiting A-level talent for leading employers throughout the BC Interior and Okanagan.

More insightful information for recruiting professionals, businesses and individuals looking to improve a career can be found on our Recruiters Blog. Subscribe with us to stay in touch.



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This post has been approved for public release by Barbara Ashton. All certified posts carry this Google Authorship link to Google