Attracting and retaining talent is probably the single most expensive and important element of any project planning in the current business transformation landscape. Identifying the right people who will not only have the necessary skills but also the fortitude to commit to a project which, unlike times gone by will struggle with the concept of promoting a backlog of initiatives and operating dual project methodologies (i.e a combination of Waterfall and Agile).
This is precisely why organisations need to spend time and money on their project transformation vision. The key to attracting talent is to inspire them to want to put “skin in the game”. In the startup world this might mean offering equity in replace of salary, in big business this may mean accepting lower salary or day rate than they might otherwise get working for a competitor. Equally in an industry such as financial services or government “skin in the game” may be the time they have to spend working on old technology or working in bureaucratic process environments.
The old days of; the employer sets the boundaries and in return offers money and the hope of career progression, are long gone! There may have been a financial crisis but in major capital cities around the world where progress needs to continue, technology resources have forgotten all about those dark days of potential unemployment.
So how do you inspire someone to put this “skin in the game” that I keep referring to?
- First you must truly understand what you are asking your employees and future employees to give up.
- Then you must set a clear vision that can secure emotional buy in from staff, customers and shareholders.
Your chances of attracting talent will begin with this clear vision but your hope in retaining talent will be in your ability to commit to the journey required to realise the vision.
This blog is not about all the other things that you must offer staff such as a flexible work environment, fun atmosphere, employment perks etc, as there are plenty of places to get this information. I have focused on the transformation vision as I think it is the single most important aspect of attracting and retaining talent.
People want to know WHY they are doing what they come into work to do, and they also want to know that there is commitment from everyone in the building to this WHY.
Simon Sinek wrote and excellent book Start with Why, where he explains the human need to truly understand why we do something. There are lots of businesses out there today who are existing on the belief that they know they need to change, so they aim to create a culture of – every bodies favorite word “disruption” or the equally popular term “innovation”. It is not enough to try and inspire people with the fact that a company wants to be innovative or disruptive, you must clearly articulate to people WHY you want to be this and then follow it up with HOW you are going to achieve it.
Articulating the vision for an organisations transformation is not a guarantee that you will attract talent, but without the vision I can guarantee that it will be very costly to try and retain talent.
Project success is based on clarity, consistency and commitment so start with WHY and build a map that inspires people to come on the journey.