A Tale of Two Contractors
I have been on the front lines of The War for Talent. I experienced it up close and personal within a span of two weeks in early 2018.
I was asked to provide training to two very successful and well-established companies located in the United States. Both have ownership teams committed to their employees. By bringing me in, they demonstrated they were willing to invest in field leadership, an area where their competitors are lagging.
But while they had many similarities, there was one striking difference between the two companies – a difference so important it could determine their ultimate fate. It was a simple and powerful difference, but unless you were paying careful attention, it was nearly invisible and easy to miss.
I remember the moment the critical difference between the two contractors “clicked” in my head.
I was hired to conduct Five-Minute Foreman training for both companies. During one of the sessions, I always run an informal show-of-hands survey to determine the mix of generations represented in the room. At the first contractor, the majority of field leaders were Gen X-ers & Millennials; at the second contractor, the majority of their field leadership were still Baby Boomers. That one difference alone, in my view, says more about which company is going to make more money, attract more talent and experience growth over the next ten years.
WHICH COMPANY ARE YOU & WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT?
The contractor with Gen X & Millennial talent already in the field has the next 20 years’ worth of leaders under his roof. His struggle will be to retain them. But the other contractor with a majority of Boomers in the field is really up shit creek. Most of them will exit the workforce at the same time, which will create chaos for the company, not to mention a loss of history and institutional knowledge. In order to survive, the second contractor will have to completely re-tool their leadership team and essentially re-invent their field leader workforce in a very compressed time period.
THE LESSON IS SIMPLE
In The War for Talent, you have to get out ahead. Way ahead. The old model of stealing talent to “get by” during busy periods is over. The idea that you can “pick up some people” when you need them is a recipe for you hiring C-level talent at A-level prices. Start looking hard at your Boomer departure schedule and the next generation of successors. The future is here. Figure it out before your competitors do.
Remember, profit and performance come from how you develop and engage your people.
For more information on developing Next Gen Leaders, click here.