- Reading level: 15+ years
- Hardcover: 240 pages
- Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press (1 October 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1578514592
- ISBN-13: 978-1578514595
- Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 3.2 x 23.5 cm
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,26,116 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
War for Talent Hardcover – 1 Oct 2001
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Description for War for Talent
Talent, as defined by Ed Michaels, Helen Handfield-Jones, and Beth Axelrod, is shorthand for a key employee who possesses "a sharp strategic mind, leadership ability, communications skills, the ability to attract and inspire people, entrepreneurial instincts, functional skills, and the ability to deliver results." It's also, they contend in The War for Talent, an overarching personnel characteristic that companies of all kinds will require throughout their organizations in order to survive the competitive recruiting era that we appear to be entering. Michaels, Handfield-Jones, and Axelrod, authors of a 1997 McKinsey Quarterly article that uncovered a definitive connection between top performers and superior corporate achievement, spent the intervening years studying 13,000 executives in 27 companies to identify the programs and behaviors that help today's foremost firms attract and retain the best kinds of employees. The authors outline five common "imperatives" that they found these companies employed to strengthen their talent pools ("Embrace a Talent Mindset," "Craft a Winning Employee Value Proposition," "Rebuild Your Recruiting Strategy," "Weave Development into Your Organization," and "Differentiate and Affirm Your People") and construct a practical framework for making it happen in your company. --Howard Rothman
In 1997 and 2000, Michaels, Helen Handfield-Jones, and Beth Axelrod, from McKinsey & Company consulting firm, surveyed CEOs, executives, and managers at large and midsize companies headquartered in the U.S. Winning the war for talent is the theme of their book, and the authors discovered that talent mindset was the key to winning the war. As Kevin Sharer, a participant in the survey and currently CEO of Amgen, said, "I told my leaders that if they believed that people are the responsibility of HR, they've totally missed the point." Jobs are being cut at corporations around the U.S., but the authors predict a shortage of talented, qualified managers as more people reach retirement age or choose to retire early. They suggest management needs to play more of a role in the process of attracting talented managers and structuring the organizational policies and practices to create a winning employee-value environment, encourage development, facilitate mentoring and coaching, and attract talent. This book provides worthwhile information for many levels of managers to review and implement. Eileen Hardy
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Having worked for one of our illustrious big banks that basically failed in 2009 I can attest to the same cynical non-sense going on in our zoo as what may have occurred at Enron. By that I mean the endless shifting of the top managers regardless or experience or job skills into positions of responsibility. Ultimately a lack of accountability fails big companies far quicker than settling for pluggers over shooting stars. What is talent if not discipline, hard work, team work, humility and focus? I just don't see any of that covered here. These same consultants polluted my company for years getting into the ears of insecure senior managers that used the rest of as guinea pigs. I cannot think of one of the 8-10 programs launched by consultants that did anything but disrupt the company and hinder performance.
This book? Seems like it entertained some readers which is fine. But for serious management study it think it should be avoided.
I found the discussion on the "Employee Value Proposition," which the authors describe as the holistic sum of everything people experience and receive while part of a company, to be the most compelling section of the book. The authors explain how talented people want big money and perks, but also want to feel passionate about work; excited by their jobs; enriched by career opportunities; uplifted by company's leaders; assured by depth of its management; and inspired by a sense of mission.
The book is chalked full of guiding principles for hiring managers. For example:
- Building a strong talent pipeline is as critical as building a vibrant product pipeline
- Career security relies in the collection of skills and experiences employees can bring to market
- Measure leaders by not only how effective they are, but how inspirational they are to employees
- Bringing a strong pipeline of young talent into the company fuels the system for years to come
I did find the book to be somewhat dated in the examples that it uses as well as some of the principles. Enron is frequently cited as an example of best practices. And I'm not sure some of the concepts would apply Gen Y workers. I think some of the simpler approaches such as those discussed in books like Getting Real are more applicable.
The basic premise of this book is that the ability to attract, retain and engage the best talent available will give your business a competitive edge in the marketplace. Looking at these components in the "war for talent" the authors outline several strategies:
The first issue is that in order to be able to focus on talent, companies must "embrace a talent mindset" and realize that in this age of intellectual capital, getting the top talented people to work for you and your customers will make the difference in your results. "Embracing a talent mindset" means not just awareness of the importance of great people, but investing in development, setting high performance standards, and getting actively involved in people related decisions. In order to do this, companies must look closely at "EVP" or an "Employee Value Proposition" approach to keep top talent engaged in exciting work and value added opportunities.
The authors also discuss several different approaches to recruiting and identifying the key talent required for your business. In my experience, getting better talent up front makes all the subsequent processes better: training, communication, innovation, and of course business results.
The book also discusses a concept made famous by GE - differentiating performance and performers. While it sometimes feels like business Darwinism, differentiating your top performers and rewarding and investing in them accordingly will bring about better results than trying to raise the poorer performers up a level.
Overall, a great summary of the challenges and opportunities in this "war for talent" businesses are facing everyday.