War for talent 'back with a vengeance': Survey

Is HR clinging to outdated approaches to talent management?

The “war for talent,” which faltered with the financial crisis, is back with a vengeance. However, there are some key differences this time around, according to a KPMG survey of 335 people and change consultants from 47 countries (including Canada).

“In 2001, the focus was on attracting and retaining ‘high-potential’ and ‘high-performing’ employees. It’s an approach that has become deeply engrained for many companies,” said Robert Bolton, co-leader of KPMG’s Global HR Center of Excellence.

“In 2014, however, 66 per cent of respondents are telling us it’s much more important for organizations to have a holistic approach to talent management that addresses the needs of all employees.”

Just over one-half agreed or strongly agreed that pursuing high-potential talent at the team’s expense puts the business at risk.

The survey results signify a shift in HR methodology, said KPMG, brought about by a broad-based shortage of skilled workers, increased globalization, competitive pressures resulting from improving economies and the changing career expectations of younger skilled workers.

“These findings should serve as a wakeup call to HR managers who may still be clinging to outdated approaches to talent management,” said Bolton. “Addressing skill shortages throughout the entire organization, and not just at the most senior levels, should be a top priority in 2014 and will become critical over the next two years.”

There are a number of actions companies can take to give themselves an edge in the ongoing war for talent, he said.

“One thing many leading companies are doing is putting powerful new data analysis capabilities to work to help gauge their performance and fine-tune their people practices over time,” said Bolton. “There’s a real opportunity for companies to create a differentiated approach for the HR function, one that is a demonstrable driver for the business. Those companies that seize this opportunity stand to benefit, while those who take a narrow approach risk losing far more than simply the war for talent.”

Survey results can be found at KPMG.

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