Talent and SMEs: War, X-Factor and Making Do

Research released today by Croner claims to have found that businesses are not attracting top class talent because of a fundamental failure to understand what people want from an employer.
How to recruit the …

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10th April 2007 at 10:18 pm

Research released today by Croner claims to have found that businesses are not attracting top class talent because of a fundamental failure to understand what people want from an employer.

How to recruit the right people for your business has long been the subject of some mighty tomes and controversy.  McKinsey and others characterised it as the war for talent.  When I interviewed Polly LaBarre and Bill Taylor, formerly of Fast Company, they considered winning talent the mark of a successful company, but also the most difficult issue for any business to get right.  And it’s not just the corporates who confront this challenge.

Small businesses do and countries do.  India is reportedly worried that it will run out of skilled software engineers to meet the outsourcing demand it has so effectively stimulated thus far.

But as Malcolm Gladwell points out in his New Yorker article ‘The Talent Myth‘, all this chasing after the x-factor may not be quite so important as some would think.  It didn’t do Enron any good, after all.

What about training, motivation and drawing out the talents of existing and, for want of a better word, ordinary employees?  This is the real challenge for entrepreneurs and corporates alike.

Or is it?  The Croner’s survey reveals that people couldn’t give a stuff about a company’s reputation or standing.  No, what they cared about most is their likely holiday entitlement (43%), work location (37%), as well as flexible working and bonuses (39%). 

Forget the war for talent, where are you on work-life balance?

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Alex is the founder and editor of SmallBizPod, the UK's first podcast dedicated to small business, start-ups and entrepreneurship. Alex writes about topical small business issues, entrepreneurs and anything else that catches his eye here on the small business blog. http://www.smallbizpod.co.uk

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