Talent crisis looming

With global workforce numbers dwindling due to people born in the Baby Boomer Generation reaching retirement age, businesses are scrambling to recruit and retain talent critical to their operations.

‘The global shortage of talent is real and it’s coming,’ said Kevin Horseman of Deloitte Human Capital Consulting on Wednesday at the luncheon meeting of the Cayman Islands Society of Human Resource Professionals.

Mr. Horseman said the critical talent of an organisation generally represents a distinct minority of a businesses total payroll. Even so, the well for that critical talent is drying up.

‘Talent management is essential for a business’s success,’ he said. ‘Companies will succeed or fail based on their ability to respond to the drivers of talent management.’

The problem is magnified in the Cayman Islands by the burdens of the seven-year rollover policy.

‘[Talent management] is something I think it is very critical right now in Cayman,’ Mr. Horseman said. ‘Competition is going to be fierce for talent.’

The challenge lies not only in recruiting talent, but also in keeping talent.

‘The ‘A’ players and stars are often the first to leave,’ he said.

Traditionally, businesses have tried to pay more for talent they needed, but these days, money is not the most important thing to potential or current employees.

‘Monetary rewards do not sustain interest,’ Mr. Horseman said. ‘Organisations need to build strategies around things that matter to critical talent.’

Surveys show that basic earnings often do not rate in the top five most important factors for employees. People increasingly want work that is interesting and challenging, and they also want balance between their working lives and their personal lives.

‘By focusing on developing, deploying and connecting the attractions, the retention of critical talent largely take care of themselves,’ Mr. Horseman said.

That does not mean companies do not have to pay their employees fairly.

‘Money is not necessarily a motivator, but it can be a de-motivator,’ Mr. Horseman said.

His colleague Becky Kalahiki noted that businesses have traditionally used a benchmark system for rewarding employees. For example, entry-level workers were paid an industry standard.

‘A benchmark for reward strategy doesn’t align with business strategy,’ she said.

Businesses should instead consider rewarding employees based on their value to the company.

Mr. Horseman pointed out that an employee’s performance is about creating value for the company, not just hitting performance numbers.

Ms. Kalahiki said one effective strategy to retaining critical talent was to use a total rewards concept that includes both financial and non-financial elements.

Knowing just what employees need and want is vital.

To determine what it is employees want, employers should use tools such as employee surveys; on-boarding and exit interviews; focus groups; or interactive web-based portals, Ms. Kalahiki said.

She suggested that businesses should have rewards dialogue with their employees to gather their views and to communicate rewards policies.

‘When your employees succeed, your business succeeds,’ she said.

Mr. Horseman said keeping employees happy will also help recruit new employees.

‘If you can keep your people motivated and happy, that [message] is going to get out there,’ he said.