The good news: We have many CPO’s who are constantly looking for good talent. The good ones can pick where they want to work because the shortage of talent in our profession continues and will continue in the near future.
The bad news: There are challenges for the CPOs in how to acquire good talent or how to retain them once they have been acquired.
So what do the truly talented look for? What attracts them to a particular opportunity over another? Because of our extensive alumni we have gained some insight in what do the truly talented in our profession look for – beyond the typical compensation, vacation, title, role, benefits, etc. etc. These are some of the factors (not in any order) that we have observed over time and would love to hear from you about these or others.
- Dynamic visionary leader: This is the most obvious one and probably the most impactful. Post-employment, this was the one factor that was cited most often in helping the talented candidates make their decision. The leader was quickly able to explain her/his vision and direction and enroll the candidate in them.
- Alignement and support from Executives: This was rather interesting but revealing. Good talent also wants to know if the leader has been able to “sell” their vision to the executives and enroll them as well. The smart ones have figured out that if the leader has not been able to do that, it will be a constant uphill struggle. The challenge here for the candidates was how to determine this other than during the interview process.
- Focus on value, not just cost: The best in our profession have figured out a while ago that chasing just lowest cost goals was and is a losing proposition (especially in relation to number 2). Most of these types of candidates want to hear that the goals have moved beyond just finding the lowest price or TCO because they want access to work on the strategic issues and challenges facing the corporation.
- Investment in people: This was yuuuuuuge (huge for those not following the elections here 🙂 ). If they did not get a sense for the value placed on people and investments made in them, they would most likely reject that opportunity. What was fascinating was not that they looked at it from their own selfish perspective but wanted to confirm that they could invest in the people who would report to them.
- Focus on the right metrics: This is probably tied to number 3 but the truly talented have figured out that what an organization measures itself on is probably a darn good indicator of what it values the most – regardless of what is said during the interview. Number of POs and cost to process a PO were not very high on their list of relevant metrics 🙂 .
- Global Brand/Social Impact: While these may not be intuitive, they are very important for this segment of the candidate pool. They must be able to talk about their employer with pride and that can come from a global brand, the type of work they are involved in, the market they serve, the social benefit they provide etc.
- Transformation: This may be a little vague but a number of these candidates are looking to shake things up, create something new, do a BIG thing, and have an impact. What they want to hear is that there is some sort of “Transformative” effort underway and that they can be a part of it. Same Ole, Same Ole means “so so“ to them and that’s just not very interesting.
So if you are looking to hire some truly talented people, you may want to consider some of these thoughts. And if you are one of these individuals and are looking for an adventure, you may want to check out the sidebar 😉 .