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Thinking Creatively About Talent to Solve Shortages

Takeaways from a panel of women leaders working to change the talent landscape.

Organizations are facing a time of scarcity when it comes to their talent. According to ManpowerGroup’s 2019 Talent Shortage Survey, global talent shortages have reached an all-time high of 54 percent since this research began in 2006.

And yet, organizations act like there is an abundance of talent when they filter out and exclude sources that haven’t been in their pipeline in the past, according to Rebekah Kowalski, Vice President of Manufacturing Solutions of ManpowerGroup.

In response to the need for a talent mindset shift, ManpowerGroup organized Women, Let’s Catch the Shift: Navigating Digital Era Paradoxes in Manufacturing, convening women leaders in manufacturing for the third year in a row. The event addressed how organizations can and must transform their hiring practices. Here are takeaways from a panel of women leaders who are working to change the talent landscape.

Rethink barriers to entry

Globally, companies have adopted processes in place to reinforce an “abundance mindset” of talent, according to Michelle Nettles, Chief People & Culture Officer at ManpowerGroup. But that doesn’t work anymore when there is actually a scarcity of talent. “What is truly the value of a college degree when you have to learn, unlearn and relearn and recreate all the time,” Nettles said. “How do you create a muscle around change?” She pointed to the need to adapt, not just specialize. That means organizations need to change their assessment and qualifications when adding talent.

Move beyond piloting

The status quo is comfortable for a reason – and businesses don’t like to change if something has worked in the past. To get started, organizations may pilot a small program, test and move slowly. But when the reality has already changed, organizations can’t wait to overhaul their processes and need to dive in. Conservative practices become risky at today’s pace of change. “It starts with us and our mindset,” Nettles said. “How do we start with we can and build that change muscle in a very rapid way?”

Look for talent with growth mindset

Compliance does not equal innovation. For organizations, that means looking for talent with a growth mindset, not just following orders. Thought leader Seth Godin states that the theory that A+ students become good leaders is flawed. “Doing well on tests, paying attention to what’s being asked, being diligent in short-term error correction – these are three hallmarks of someone who is good at school,” he writes. “None of these are important once you’re charged with charting a new path, with figuring out what to do next. In fact, they get in the way.” Nettles points out that organizations need to renew and find workers that want to grow, rather than seeking more of the same.

As women leaders pointed out, manufacturing organizations who begin the shift now will be at an advantage to finding the best talent. Those who continue the status quo will need to scramble to catch up in the future.