The Talent Double Whammy

By July 12, 2019Beyond Supply Chain
190711 July Cover

 “A company that can leverage resources and management talents across a broad array of opportunities may have an efficiency advantage over firms that cannot.” – Gary Hamel

Most of us these days take the comment above by Gary Hamel as a given. A well-developed talent strategy is a must. But the difference today is that we are seeing a combination of dynamics within the workforce that we may have never seen before.

More in Demand but Less Engaged

It is well known that unemployment rates are at historic lows which has resulted in an increased difficulty in finding qualified applicants, increased time it takes to fill vacancies and added pressure in retaining top talent.

What might be unprecedented however is that at the same time demand for talent is at an all-time high, we are seeing that employee engagement is decreasing. This means companies can expect to face increasingly difficult challenges without employee support.

190711 July Web

Both a Risk and Opportunity

This environment provides both a risk and opportunity. From a risk perspective the current environment is one ripe for our best talent to be poached by other companies. To retain employees, it’s better to find out what may influence their desire to leave before they actually leave. Research from Gartner’s HR practice suggests the use of “stay interviews”.

These conversations are similar to exit interviews, but instead of providing details of what causes an employee to leave the company, after the fact, stay interviews offer insight before it’s too late. This enables you to take action quickly to retain them.

These discussions focus on possible issues such as:

  • Desire for career advancement or professional development.
  • Change fatigue following significant organizational shifts.
  • Dissatisfaction with compensation level.
  • Need for a better work-life balance.

Research has shown that for supply chain talent, compensation and work-life balance are clearly the top two attraction drivers.

As is usually the case, with risk comes opportunity and the opportunity in today’s market is to take advantage of the talent complacency in other organizations to pluck their best people. This won’t come without effort, however, as supply chain talent tends not to be active job searchers. In fact, three in four supply chain professionals classify their job search strategy as either neutral, passive or very passive. Supply chain talent are more likely to respond to recruiters from other organizations than actively manage their résumé or update their online professional profile to seek opportunities. The net of this is that if you are seeking the best supply chain talent, you will need to put forth more effort to find and acquire them as they are likely not actively seeking you.

190711 July 2 Web

So How Do You Get to Them?

When looking to what supply chain talent uses and what influences their job decisions, Gartner’s HR practice found friends and family and job advertisements online are not only the two most used job channels for talent in supply chain roles, but also the two channels they found most influential when selecting their current jobs. Current employees of the organization are also a popular and influential job channel for supply chain talent. While some formal channels are used often, such as external search firms or an organization’s website, they have low influence on candidates. This finding stresses the need for organizations to build informal networks, coupled with formal strategies, such as job advertisements online or online professional networking tools, to attract and influence candidates. It also illustrates the importance of your organization’s supply chain brand.

At the end of the day, the current environment is very challenging and necessitates we protect what we have but also provides the opportunity to exploit those that do not as long as you know how to get to them.


Michael Uskert, Chief of Research, Gartner Supply Chain


Author Guest

More posts by Guest