Hiring Top Talent with Passion and Enthusiasm Key to Beating Talent/Skills Gap

Press Release: February 1, 2019

CLAREMONT, CA—The old adage, “Hire for attitude; teach the skills” still holds true, in spite of perceived gaps in the availability of talent, according to The Society for the Advancement of Consulting® (SAC). Businesses still get ahead by hiring top talent with passion and enthusiasm for the work and people who have (or who want to) develop skills that make them fit for the future, the organization noted.

Successful Companies Prioritize Top Talent Retention

“Finding, retaining, and growing talent is the number one concern of our clients,” points out Lisa Anderson, president of Claremont, CA-based LMA Consulting Group, Inc. and manufacturing expert known for creating supply chain resiliency. “In today’s business environment, customers expect Amazon-like service while suppliers struggle to navigate volatile business conditions, increasing cost pressures, and sweeping technology changes. Therefore, our most successful clients prioritize retaining their top talent amidst the chaos.

“These clients realize that people work for people; not for companies. Thus, they find, develop, and retain strong leaders who create a culture of innovation. As everyone else loses key people to promises of better pay and shorter commutes, they accelerate progress.”

A Passion for Work plus Skills Ensures a Good Fit

“Recruiting the right people for job vacancies is daunting,” according to Dr. Karen Wilson-Starks, president of global executive leadership development consulting company, TRANSLEADERSHIP, INC. and author of the book, Lead Yourself First: The Senior Leader’s Guide to Engaging Your People for Greater Performance and Impact.

“There are three primary reasons for this talent search challenge. First, many jobs in technology or craftsman-type roles require industry-specific knowledge and skills. Second, job seekers don’t understand their own skills, talents, or bents and how these relate to the job for which they are applying. Third, people go for pay over passion and apply for jobs where they lack interest,” she said.

“Without true passion and interest the work effort is unsustainable long-term. Without specialized skill and ability, the new hire won’t be able to do the job. People over-estimate their abilities and don’t know what they don’t know. We show our clients how to quickly sift through the noise to assess who is or is not a good fit. In addition, we advise them on how to analyze company needs and best articulate their specific call to leadership,” she added.

The Best Manufacturers Hire for Traits They’ll Need in Five Years

“Manufacturers have complained about skills shortages for many years,” says Becky Morgan, manufacturing operations strategist and president of Cleveland, OH-based Fulcrum ConsultingWorks, as well as the author of Strategic Profits and Start Smart, Finish Strong. “In today’s high-employment economy, it’s difficult to find people, regardless of industry. But all too often, companies look for the wrong people in the wrong ways.

“Instead of looking for candidates who can help with today’s orders, e.g. a fully trained CNC operator on specific equipment, look for candidates who can help you get where you need and want to be in five years. Look for thinking skills, commitment and ability to learn, energy to try new ideas, and acceptance of perceived risk involved,” she noted.

“Many of the positions manufacturers are seeking to fill right now will not be needed in five years. Yes, you need to get through today and this month, but if you’re not attracting and developing those that can help you succeed in the future, today is just another fire.  The prior short-term thinking of outsourcing to low labor rate countries is a huge part of what got us into this situation. Don’t make the same mistake now.”

Hire New Talent Who Can Understand Business Basics

“The skills gap is real,” notes Kathleen McEntee, President of La Quinta, CA and Chicago, IL-based full-service marketing firm, Kathleen McEntee and Associates, Ltd.  and author of the business basics book Being in Business is a Funny Thing, Getting Out is Not!

“As a marketing firm, we always like to add young talent.  Their take on our clients’ customers or products is sometimes very different.  While their insight is valuable, they also need to understand the basics—we can teach the rest (process, software, etc.). That includes business basics: completing projects within a timeline, keeping the team informed on progress, identifying next steps in their process or support they need, etc. This all seems straightforward, but many times, these are the parts that completely fall apart.

“We met a recent marketing grad who told us that she had no idea what she wanted to do because she still didn’t understand what marketing was!  We’re always on the lookout for talent, but it needs to include the basics,” she noted.

Executive Talents Have a More Complex Skill Set Than Ever Before

Dr. Maynard Brusman, a consulting psychologist, executive coach, and emotional intelligence/mindful leadership consultant, notes, “The demand for leadership talent greatly exceeds supply. Today’s global economy requires executive talent with a more complex skill set than ever before. Future leaders will need greater technological literacy, multicultural fluency and social intelligence.”

According to Dr. Brusman, “Most development models fail to consider leadership requirements at all levels. As a person is promoted from line manager to business manager to functional manager, skills and requirements change. Contributors to success at one level may be ineffective at another. A skilled leader has to unlearn and relearn at each succeeding level.”

Dr. Brusman advises his clients, “Few organizations define the core competencies and experiences necessary to succeed at each level. Instead, companies focus on leadership traits, styles and technical competence. Companies err when promoting individuals without acknowledging required skill sets.”

Put a Premium on Temperament to Bridge the Talent/Skills Gap

“In my experience, there isn’t so much a talent/skills gap as there is a talent/skills/wage gap,” claims Greg Chambers, president of Omaha, NE-based sales and marketing consultancy Chambers Pivot Industries and author of the book The Human Being’s Guide to Business Growth.

“Hiring carries risk, and in an environment where talent or skills aren’t available at the wage you are willing to pay, employers must pay more and invest in future talent, shouldering more risk,” he said.

“In my book, The Human Being’s Guide to Business Growth, I offer tactics for developing talent on someone else’s dime, and re-recruiting your runner ups. A recent obituary on legendary Southwest Airlines founder Herb Kelleher noted him saying that hiring the right people is a leader’s most crucial task. When other companies emphasized education and skills, Mr. Kelleher put a premium on temperament—even inviting longtime customers to screen candidates,” he said. “Follow his lead. Hire people you like and ensure their ability to emulate the behaviors of your best employees. That’s how you bridge a serious talent/skills gap in any economy.

A Strong Brand Helps Attract Strong Talent

Building a strong brand is even more important when talent is scarce, according to Linda Popky, president of Redwood Shores, CA-based strategic marketing firm Leverage2Market Associates, and author of the book Marketing Above the Noise: Achieve Strategic Advantage with Marketing That Matters.

“Top performers want to work for organizations that inspire them and make them proud. The best way to attract top employees is to develop a strong brand that stands out from the crowd,” she said. “This means living and breathing the brand’s core values in an authentic way. Saying one thing and doing another will drive talent away from you and to your competitors.”

Hire People with Enthusiasm and Energy

“Businesses should hire enthusiasm and energy,” said SAC Founder Alan Weiss, PhD. “They can teach content and proper skills, but they can’t ‘teach’ enthusiasm. There is no ‘talent/skills’ gap. There is only senior management confused about what’s really needed.”

About SAC

The Society for the Advancement of Consulting (SAC) is the premier association for independent consulting professionals who subscribe to an industry code of ethics and provide significant consulting results among their clients. Founded by Million Dollar Consulting guru Alan Weiss in 2003, SAC offers a series of in-person and online programs to help consultants share best practices and learn from industry experts and thought leaders in the business world. SAC today has members in 10 countries around the world.

For more information, go to http://www.consultingsociety.com, email info@consultingsociety.com, or call (909) 563-1803.