Nearly all organizations are fighting the war for talent – open positions, bidding wars, and sometimes finding any resource to keep things moving. If you search Google War for Talent 2018, you will find 48+ million hits to read. Forbes identifies one weapon may be your brand, BrainWorks identifies 5 creative ways to win the war, and Inc. describes multiple dimensions on Why the War for Talent is happening. As you read more, I suspect you will determine, as I did, there is not any one way to win the war. One strategy you can deploy within your organization is an enhanced focus on quality and continuous improvement tools. The multiple pronged approach below is a way to garner some quick wins while you concurrently deploy additional tactics and strategies.
Complete an Assessment
Leveraging an outside perspective on how you are doing the work, what the customer finds important, any gaps and struggles you have from your workforce perspective is a great way to kick off. This provides you with initial data on where you can focus your improvement efforts.
Select a Method or Model
Whether you choose Lean, Six Sigma, PDSA, or make up your own – just pick one and start. As Schlesinger, Kiefer & Brown describes in their bookay Just Start: to take action now and learn as you go. Their premise is a continual cycle Act.Learn.Build (so you can) Act again and move forward, quickly. When you pick a method and step forward, you have shared language that your organization can use to make improvements. Once you have a method identified, use the data from your assessment to determine where to start and get quick wins.
Gain Efficiency – Crush your Sacred Cows
As you start to have quick wins with the model you have selected, make it okay (really okay, not just say it’s okay) to analyze and question things that have always been there or “The founder doesn’t like it when…” comments should begin to make your spidey sense tingle and ask questions like:
- What is the purpose of doing it like that?
- Is it a regulatory requirement or law?
- Does the customer want it like that?
- Will it move our business forward?
- What’s the risk?
- What’s the benefit?
Once you have the answers, Act.
Involve the Brain Capital You Already Have
You have deep knowledge at your finger tips, your current workforce. Pink identifies three elements: Autonomy, Mastery, & Purpose
in his book Drive
. Engaging the hearts and minds of your current workforce in the ideas and improvements can provide all three elements and create a huge push. To put it in perspective, you could have a CI expert on site doing projects and save $100,000/year. While they address the low hanging fruit, they can likely keep this up for a few years until the projects and savings become harder. Engaging and developing a workforce of 100 in quality and improvement techniques, giving them the autonomy, mastery, and purpose to save $1 a day would accomplish $50,000 savings in 2 years while building a changed focused organization.
While quality and improvement tools will not be the full solution to the war on talent, it is one battle that you can get engaged in and make quick wins while building capacity in your talent through engagement, knowledge transfer, efficiency and effectiveness. Other benefits that are not easily measured are increased morale, engagement, and a decrease in turnover within your organization.