Category Management:  The War for Talent is Even Worse Now!


We just had our first lunch with the new CPO of a Fortune 25 client and we were discussing what he saw as his challenges in his new role.  While a number of very critical topics came up, there was no doubt what his number one concern was – Talent!!  And this is probably not a surprise to many of you?

Some of you may remember the trends that we published and here’s a quick reminder of what they were:

And there was a reason why we had Talent as our number one issue then and it continues to be now.  Here are some of the observations that we have made about this topic at various conferences:

  • Retaining Top Talent is an Ongoing Problem
  • Recruiting is Taking Too Long
  • Professionals in General Lack the “Strategic” Skills Needed to Succeed
  • A Strategy to Manage Resources Does Not Exist
  • Talent Management Plans Do Not Close Skills Gaps
  • Education and Training is Not Effective
  • This has become a bigger issue Post-Pandemic


 And when we have asked the following questions of senior executives, the answer invariably is a widespread YES.

  • Do you have trouble translating job descriptions into key performance indicators?
  • Do you wish that you could tap into new and more experienced pools of candidates for your openings?
  • Do you dread the amount of your time that will be “sucked up” by the hiring process?
  • Do you get tired of having to train supposedly experienced new hires in the basics of sourcing / supply chain?
  • Do you sometimes wonder why you don’t use sourcing concepts when filling your personnel needs?


Which is why you immediately need to launch a Competency Based Talent Management initiative to ensure that you have the right talent when you need it.  While focusing just on recruiting will not solve your problems, here are some Next Practices that you should be thinking about:

  • Acknowledge that you are in a war for talent. Differentiation is key
  • Create a plan for marketing jobs, creating the right “sizzle” that attracts the best candidates
  • Determine organizational competency gaps to develop decision criteria
  • Focus recruitment on 3-5 year competency needs
  • Test, select, interview, reference check candidates based on actual demonstrated competencies
  • Ensure candidate can grow with the organization


If we were to come in and ask you to ask yourself the following questions, what would your answers be?

  • Are we hiring the right people?
  • How do we define the right people?
  • What skills drive performance?
  • What criteria do I use to fill open slots?
  • Where do the right people come from?
  • Why do the right people want to come to our company?
  • Is my group the place to be? Is my team, THE team to be part of?
  • Are we a talent factory for our company by identifying and attracting the best?


And if you don’t have the right answer for these questions, you may have already lost the war before you even started.  And here are the typical answers we get when we talk to client organizations:

  • “We don’t focus on competencies, so we just use the job description to bring on new hires”
  • Interviews are conducted based on “what you know – or think you know” vs. “what you’ve done”
  • Speed causes process to breakdown – “We need somebody now”
  • Short-term “need” causes selection to be narrowed – “We need a buyer” instead of “we need a future manager”

If you are having challenges meeting your talent needs, then it might be time to take our brief self-assessment to at least know where you stand and what you might need to do to fix it.


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