In our hyper-competitive, always-connected world, organizations are increasingly becoming focused on improving both their speed to market and their revenue per headcount. In this environment, more senior leaders every day are seeing innovation as the primary way to gain competitive advantage and to simultaneously increase revenue and cut costs. At the same time, organizations are struggling to find ways to accelerate their pace of innovation without escalating their costs faster than their budgets will allow.
The increasing demands for speed and efficiency are causing organizations to become ever more virtual and flexible, to utilize more variable resources, and to add and shed employees with greater regularity (often with both happening in the same organization at the same time). The progressively dynamic nature of the workforce inside organizations is making it more difficult for organizations to attract, develop, and retain the best talent while simultaneously meeting the fiscal realities of the business. This is causing many organizations to move from a talent ownership mindset to a talent attraction mindset. In a talent ownership world, recruitment and the hiring transaction are king. But in a talent attraction world, successful organizations are those that master the art of building and maintaining talent communities that keep talent connected to the organization even when they are not employed by it. Consciously creating an external talent strategy is therefore essential to success.
The talent market relationship changes are not just happening at the individual level. Change is also happening at the organizational level, as organizations themselves are moving from a fortress mentality, where all work is secret and kept inside the organization’s four walls, to an integrated, global economy with an interconnected web of suppliers and distribution channels – where being the partner of choice in your industry will be increasingly important.
Silicon Valley icon Bill Joy once famously said, “There are always more smart people outside your company than within it.” In this new world of work, organizations must begin accepting that the most valuable employees will now be those that not only do good work, but who also serve as a force multiplier for their organizations by being good at organizing and orchestrating the innovation efforts of others who do not even work for the company. And ideally, you will want to evolve to a place where even those who do not work for you actually want to work with you. In this brave new world, you must have strategies in place for attracting both internal and external talent to your innovation efforts.
Section 1. Why Having an External Talent Strategy is Becoming Increasingly Important
The old way of winning the talent wars was to search for and hire the very best talent and keep them inside your own four walls by offering them competitive compensation, benefits, and perks. Your hope was that your talent is better than your competitors’ talent. But over the last couple of decades, companies have increasingly found that employees who pursue what they do with passion will outperform an employee with a gun to their head every time. Circuit City learned very publicly that people are not commodities and went out of business from treating them as if they were. At the same time, we know that diversity is very important and hard to foster internally. And so it is to get to this diversity of thought in order to accelerate product launch and innovation timelines that companies must open up – it is a global economy with a global talent pool.
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