The market for talent has become more intense. Every day there are more new jobs and fewer quality candidates. Some company CEOs have already been affected by the growing war for talent and many more will be impacted by this change in coming months.
CEOs know one of the keys to their success in today’s market is building, developing and keeping great teams. There are fewer candidates available than ever and more candidates changing jobs.
Maintaining the Team
A CEO’s first problem may be keeping teams intact. The latest Gallup Poll shows a staggering 70 percent of employed workers are unengaged with their current employers. This means existing teams are subject to unexpected losses to better opportunities. Some firms are still experiencing the residual impact of cost cutting to benefits and compensation from the recession where companies have fewer employees doing the same work with longer hours for less compensation.
The Texas Market
Texas has been a center for job growth over a decade with the strongest growth markets being North Texas and Austin. Experienced and skilled employees from the baby boomer generation are retiring and adding to the need for new employees. This especially impacts positions requiring technical skills, engineers and experienced managers.
The key for CEOs is to make sure their company becomes known as one of the companies for great employees at all levels.
A Six-Step Action Plan for CEOs
1. Start with Employee Attitude Surveys and Action Plan
Small and middle market companies need to make more use of employee attitude surveys. They identify strengths and weaknesses and key supervisors needing training and improvement. Most surveys focus on trust and engagement. Do the employees trust management to take care of them and are they competent to run the business? A CEO must be committed to responding to issues identified during the surveys.
2. Do Compensation and Benefits Surveys and Adjustment
As the hiring demand intensifies, compensation consultants and benefit experts become key resources to any action plan. Employees want to know they are being kept at market rates. This is an opportunity to increase the variable and performance based portion of compensation. It is also a good time to look at HSAs (Health Savings Accounts) and Non-Subscriber programs to become more efficient with each benefit dollar. Smart companies communicate the often hidden costs of benefits.
3. Implement Succession Planning
Succession Planning prepares for sudden losses in key positions. More importantly, it defines a strategic talent development program that increases employee morale and loyalty. This is especially important with the younger generations, the Millennials and Y Generation.
4. Implement Process Improvement
Building cross-functional teams to look at processes to simplify and speed up processes, improves trust and profitability as Stephen M. R. Covey notes in his book, The Speed of Trust. The added benefits include a greater sense of teamwork and fewer hours for the streamlined organization.
5. Look to Boomers
The Baby Boomer generation is retiring and smart CEOs will find ways to bring them into organizations. Some need or want to continue working and can be loyal employees without the requirement for advancement of younger workers.
6. Strengthen Corporate Culture to Increase Employee Engagement
The low level of employees who feel engaged, committed and passionate about their company and their roles is a risk and opportunity for CEOs. Defining and driving corporate culture is a great way to increase engagement, improve loyalty, sales and profits. This can only be done by the CEO and now is the time to increase culture, communication and excitement.
Smart CEOs who plan and implement programs today to increase employee engagement and are competitive in compensation and benefits will be the winners in the growing war for talent.
John Casey is founder of Dallas based John Casey & Associates, a specialty search firm matching candidates with clients’ cultures and provides human resource consultants and coaches. John was a CEO and CFO for 19 years and earned his MBA from the Harvard Business School.
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