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War for talent? Someone is squabbling over me!

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Yesterday, I was down in London to attend the CIPD meeting on talent management. This is a hot issue.

“The war for talent”

With my recent experience teaching management to 900 predominantly Gen Y students in New Zealand, I wondered what they would make of that expression.

Would you like two employers to go to war to win you? Sounds good.

Are you a prize to be won? Mmmm . . .

There may be a war to be the best employer though, because Gen Y not only clutches a mobile, it is mobile.

Gen Y are often described as a feckless generation. They aren’t in my experience. Their mobile phones, metaphors of the age, deliver personal, relevant and timely information. They are more focused, more connected, more socially responsible and more time oriented than any generation that have gone before.

Are we going to keep up with them? Who will win the war for a Gen-Y-ready organization?

This reminds me of that famous saying. Whoops, there go my people. I must find out where they are going so I can lead them.

Someone asked the question from the floor. Is talent management always about slots that we want to fill? Or, are the ambitions and interests of our people, and how they develop when they work with each other, our real competitive edge?

Is Gen Y going to rewrite the employment contract? Will work become a place where we are agentic? Where there is room for initiative? Where we become purposeful and imaginative because our work brings out what is purposeful and imaginative?

Will people or talent become less of a commodity, and more of an essential alliance between stakeholders?

Published in Business & Communities


  1. Mr.pathomphong Mr.pathomphong

    do you think about the war for talent in economic crisis ?

    Talent mgt is important?

  2. Jo Jordan Jo Jordan

    Mr p.

    The techniques of “talent management” are important in any organization. Detail is important in business to manage the cents. But sometimes all we have to do is be careful and sensible. Misapplying fancy procedures creates a lot of damage.

    I don’t think there is a talent war. What we have is a growing irrelevance of command and control organizations. “Capital” as represented by top managers don’t have the skills to run their own businesses. Talent management represents their panic.

    Reorganise the business and there is notalent shortage. After all, why go into the business if there is. Why sell tomatoes if there are no tomatoes.

    So yes manage people according to the needs of the business. And if you don’t have the skills, run a business where you do have the skills. Business isn’t complicated – unless we make it so.

    Thanks for stopping by!

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