A personal rant against the War for Talent.
I have always been troubled by the so called “war for talent.” Now, I am beyond troubled, I am angry with the use of this metaphor for those of us who offer our best in organizations.
For example a Fast Company article on the war for talent stated:
According to a yearlong study conducted by McKinsey Co., the most important corporate resource over the next 20 years will be talent. It’s also the resource in shortest supply. Are you ready to fight for your fair share? … The McKinsey team is blunt about what will result from these trends: Its report is titled “The War for Talent.” The search for the best and the brightest will become a constant, costly battle, a fight with no final victory. Not only will companies have to devise more imaginative hiring practices; they will also have to work harder to keep their best people.
How does this fit with Citigroup cutting 11,000 jobs?
Why do we refer to getting good people as a war? Do you really see the workplace as a battleground?
Think about just a few of the implications of this very troubling metaphor for work and best performance:
- people are killed in wars
- there are huge social and economic costs
- there are casualties
- wars can go on for a very long time
- soldiers returning from war often have a number of transition challenges
- much is destroyed
Perhaps one constructive shred coming out of the economic upheaval will be an end to the war metaphor. If we keep thinking of work as war we don’t seem so fazed by the casualties – job loss and organizational failure can be dismissed as just another casualty of the war.
Make Love Not War:
- Let’s make love not war.
- Let’s remember to care about everyone we work with.
- Let’s work hard to create a connected community that works together for the betterment of all.
- Let’s use tough love and hold the economic generals accountable for their actions.
Let’s remember that love doesn’t mean being mushy, holding hands, and singing Kumbaya around the conference table — it means having the discipline, concentration, and patience to make the workplace a safe place to create results and enhance relationships.
If you insist on using a war metaphor, the war we truly need to wage is not for talent — it is for integrity, trust, respect, authenticity, empathy, and caring in a workplace that also gets the job done!