Over the past month I’ve been in Nairobi, Frankfurt, Dubai and London and each market is facing the same challenge: insufficient talent density.
We all know that talent matters, and we all know that talent is mattering more as the business landscape continues to become more complex.
What I didn’t realise is that this challenge is prevalent regardless of market: mature markets and emerging markets are suffering equally (my prevailing assumption was that mature markets were better off – they’re not. Germany, for instance, has a real and significant lack of skills and the trajectory of this problem gets worse the further into the future they look).
Talent is a complex problem and it stands to reason that it requires a complex solution. No longer is it viable to seek talent when the need arises, but rather to view talent as one would view a supply chain: a series of steps that together make up a rigorous medium-horizon process.
The concept of a ‘Talent Corridor’ appeals to me because it goes further than merely suggesting that talent is important. Rather, it positions Talent as being a process of finding, growing, adjusting, and locking in for the long haul.
Each business requires a corridor of its own that reflects the nature, volume and timings of its particular talents requirements. This isn’t/can’t be on the CEO to manage, but the CEO’s role in positioning talent as a component of a business that requires a very particular and intense focus is vital.
The role of a sophisticated HR practitioner, armed with a range of external providers, is paramount. Unfortunately sophisticated HR practitioners are hard to come by, which is where the steering role of the CEO comes into play.
The eventuality that the CEO needs to avoid is being stuck with a talent problem because there is no quick fix to it. Hurried hires generally don’t work out and end up costing huge amounts of hidden costs (time, energy, frustration etc.).
So think about talent in a ‘corridor’ kind of way so that it gets the strategic focus it deserves. And is going to deserve even more as the talent density pool gets thinner over time.