Stop Living in the Past – It’s Negatively Impacting Your Future

“As the battlefield for scarce talent continues to shift, talent acquisition is becoming more like marketing every day.”

               – Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends 2014

Are you treating your recruiting and hiring process like a marketing initiative? You should be – and just like your consumer marketing initiatives, it has to be now, has to be current, and has to be geared towards the right people. Outdated messaging is costing your company talent; you’re showing up to the battlefield with cardboard shields and plastic swords.

Outdated Messaging? Your Company’s Irrelevant

Another insight from Deloitte’s annual report: “Employers of choice treat their employment brand like their consumer brand. They analyze it, understand it, cultivate it, and carefully manage it.” Are you an “employer of choice”?

I worked with an organization that was cutting-edge back in the day. Too bad they haven’t updated their approach since the 1990s. Back when the owners founded the firm, they were tired of extensive business travel. When their people did have to make longer trips, they’d compensate them appropriately. Their model was “Live and work local.” That was great because people wanted jobs that allowed them to do just that and to own their own careers. It worked. Today, not so much.

Why? They haven’t kept up on pay, for one thing. Potential candidates think, “I have that now. I can live and work where I want. I may be traveling, but I’m making two and a half times what this company is offering.” This company is competing with larger organizations but they’re not keeping up with the expectations and demands of today’s talent.

Another issue is their fundamental philosophy: if they had an office in Florida, for instance, they insist that people uproot themselves and move there. They’re unwilling to bend and consider other options. And this is making their company irrelevant; they can’t attract or retain top people because their “business as usual” is 20 years too old.

It’s an Employees’ Market

That’s the fact companies have to realize: talent has options. If people want to telecommute, they can find a job that lets them do that. If they don’t want to move to Florida, they can find a job that lets them stay in place. If they want to move to Timbuktu and explore a new career, they can do that too.

Another “ah ha” that companies need to have? The war for talent is global. It’s not about you competing locally. It’s not even about the US competing for US talent. It’s about the US competing against international organizations. In Luxembourg, for instance, I had dinner with a tax company who had a team with people from France, China, Japan, Ukraine, and Czechoslovakia. Tiny Luxembourg, which is smaller than the smallest US state of Rhode Island, is competing on the world stage for talent.

The US needs to be afraid. Everyone has options now. Whether someone’s just graduated or is looking into a second career, they have choices and opportunities all over the globe. If you ever watch House Hunters International, you know that many people want to live overseas. They want to experience a new culture and embark on adventures. What’s to keep them in the US, working for companies that just don’t get it?

Companies need to get with the program. Updated messaging needs to tell potential candidates what you can do for them. Training, compensation, opportunities – what do you have to offer? Do employees want to “buy” you? Go after talent with the same innovation and strategy that you go after customers and clients. It’s their world; you have to market to them to stay relevant. You need to have a message they want to hear.