As West Monroe’s CEO, one of my imperatives is to focus on issues that are top of mind for our clients. In my interactions, I see that while we run different businesses, we have a common challenge and priority: the war for talent.
Yes, the competition to attract and retain the best people possible is back again—and it is perhaps bigger and more urgent than ever before. While the news is full of stories about automation, artificial intelligence, machine learning, self-driving vehicles, and robotics as disruptive technologies that could alter the workforce in the near future, companies with the best people still win. High-performing and rapid-growth companies like Google, Salesforce, and Tesla do the things necessary to attract and retain talent: they foster best-place-to-work cultures, arm their employees with cutting-edge technology, and drive industry disruption through innovation. They engage their talent in tomorrow’s solutions, not yesterday’s problems.
High-performing, talented people push their organizations forward through their ability not only to innovate and self-motivate, but also have fun while doing it. They are stimulated by the brain candy of instant gratification and natural shots of dopamine when their creativity and hard work are put into practice almost immediately. At West Monroe, our recruiting message to “Accept the Challenge to Better the Best” isn’t just a tag line. Once we hire new talent, we quickly empower them and hold them accountable to their end of that promise.
Mature and traditional companies—for example, the heavy equipment manufacturer or the metal fabricator—need to attract their share of top talent in order to innovate, adapt, and remain competitive. Yet, the creative, nimble, design-thinking, and digital tech workers and college graduates they seek are not lining up at the volumes needed. These workers are opting instead for “flashier” startups, creative agencies, consulting firms, and even traditional industry players with a progressive mindset amid transformational change. For more traditional workplaces to keep pace and ideally outperform competition, that’s a problem. Employers that have difficulty attracting and retaining high-performing talent have a few options:
Which route will you take? Whether you run a cutting-edge technology company or a more traditional manufacturing enterprise, I encourage you to start thinking about this question if you are not already. Talent matters, and your environment, culture, strategy, vision, and resource commitment must not only attract but also retain the best and brightest your organization can support.
We’re interested in hearing about your talent challenges. What issues are you facing to attract and retain talent? What is your strategic plan to address these challenges? I’m happy to discuss anytime!