Why bad managers add to talent shortage
Talent shortage has become a buzzword. Is it a myth or a reality? Can talent shortage be the result of bad management? Whereas a company used to be defined by its products or services, in today’s economy a company’s know-how and the skills of its employees define what it is. This new paradigm explains why making profits and creating jobs will no longer be a company’s overall objective but instead the consequence of the value of its know-how. So, the challenge is now to move from a capital-intensive model, based on skills, to a human-intensive approach, based on talent. Discover how we can overcome talent shortage.
Skills vs. talent
The employment needs of a company are constantly changing. As such, it is important to wonder which profiles a company really needs to convey its culture. Doing so, let’s make a distinction between skills and talent.
A skill is a capacity that an employee gain through experience or training. It is measurable and it can match a list of skills. Conversely, talent is a natural ability to do something. It is not something you can gain. In other words, skills come from the outside whereas talent comes from the inside.
When management considers that skills are know-how, it goes the wrong way, specifically in the face of changes in the job market and millennials. Employees are no longer interested in being seen as simple resources or toolkits. However, companies continue to recruit skills. This issue usually occurs when a company identifies a business opportunity and addresses it by promoting some employees to a managerial position. Unfortunately, some of them don’t have the flair for managing people and as a consequence are not able to make the most of talent. Undeniably, in their quest to find a purple squirrel, they’ll most probably miss talent because they don’t have the required skills.
Good managers recruit talent and train them on skills
Nowadays, the phrase “it was for yesterday!” has become a mantra. Therefore, let’s ask ourselves whether it is not more sustainable to train a profile whose talent is expressed by an ability to quickly adapt, rather than wait for the ideal candidate. In fact, many job descriptions list a series of skills. This doesn’t give much space to talent. During recruitment interviews, some managers often dismiss an application as they’re not able to manage talent and most probably because they are scared of not being as talented as them. To cope with talent shortage, a company needs to develop its own resources, including training managers to identify talent and mentoring them. The benefits are clear – they’ll have a team able to meet any challenges. Conversely, a team of skills will be quickly cast away. In the end, a manager who can’t recruit talent and train them on new skills is simply not worth managing people.
Inadequate soft skills or poor management?
One in five employees in Europe claims that bad management is the first barrier to productivity according to a report. Acknowledgedly, motivation is the result of a certain personal involvement and soft skills, but let’s wonder what role a manager plays in a situation where employees lack motivation. Undoubtedly, a team leader has the power to trigger a real desire to engage and go beyond expectations. Very often, some managers blame employees for their lack of motivation or enthusiasm though they might be the reasons for this. Being a manager doesn’t come naturally, instead it is a crucial step in a career and it requires training and a willingness to manage people.
In brief, while a lot has been said about the value of skills within the corporate world, few have been said on talent. Most probably because talent is still seen as a source of anxiety for it is impossible to categorise. So, let’s take this opportunity to redefine skills and talent and cherish individuality.
In the end, the real question may be more about standardisation vs. singularity than talent shortage.