The War for Talent – and the option for pacifists!

The War For Talent

Another copy of People Management drops onto the doormat and once again I am reminded about the potential for Human Resource Management to help negotiate the credit crunch.  My favourite piece of advice –  ‘Look for ways of saving money without laying people off’! – Just wrong in so many ways.  How do ‘membership magazines’ get away with such dross?

And then there are the usual mantras about talent management, talent recruitment and talent retention.  There is even a glossy supplement on Recruitment Marketing that shows just what lengths some organisations go to in order to recruit the best.  Pictures of gyms, yoga classes and the Bourneville Sports Ground all provided to help retract and retain talent.  Articles headlined ‘The Talent Crunch’ – and then over 30 pages of very expensively crafted and placed adverts many of them from organisations that consistently under-invest time and money in people development.  (They obviously take the CIPD advice seriously and see training as a place where you can ‘save money with having to lay people off‘.  Indeed it even saves you the expense of redundancy as you can watch your talented people walk out the door on their own volition!  Double bubble!  Indeed many of the recruitment ads are from the NHS where the recent Healthcare Commission report showed that the chances of you getting even an annual appraisal that you feel is helpful are less than 1 in 4!

Most wars are stupidly expensive and damaging – and the war for talent is no different.

This is because people have an innate and practically limitless potential to learn and develop.  Some people have switched on to this potential and been developing it successfully for a while (this is what we mean by talented).  Others have not yet learned to believe in and develop their potential.

So if you really want to develop a great team of talented people don’t join the talent recruitment wars.  Instead fight for more engagement with people, more feedback, more coaching and more work based opportunities for development.  Fight for the right of every person to be supported effectively, frequently and professionally to develop their own potential.  Practice the rhetoric of investing in people instead of flying the flag for it.

Don’t head hunt other peoples talent.


Not only will you find remarkable talents in some quite unexpected places – but you will also get a reputation as a place where talent can flourish, people can express themselves and explore and develop their potential – and that is more appealing to talented people than the sexiest job advert or well appointed gym.

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