The “war for talent” is a term coined by Steven Hankin of McKinsey & Company in 1997, and a book by Ed Michaels, Helen Handfield-Jones, and Beth Axelrod. The war for talent refers to an increasingly competitive landscape for recruiting developing and retaining talented employees.

While the term talent is vague and difficult to define, the underlying assumption is that for knowledge-intensive industries, “the knowledge worker” is the key competitive resource.

Since the emergence of the COVID-19 Global Pandemic the paradigm has changed. Instead of a “war for talent” we now have a “war with talent”. As unemployment rises and the global business environment deteriorates organizations are now focused on getting the most out of what they have.  The “war with talent” is all about maximizing performance & productivity. In this new paradigm employers need a new battle plan.

Traditional (annual) Performance Management processes were known to be broken long before the onset of COVID-19. Many organizations regarded getting all the appraisal forms completed and returned as success. But most Performance Appraisal Processes do not improve performance and are seen by most as a complete waste of time.

There is little argument between business leaders and academics as to how you improve employee performance. The science has not changed for many years.

  1. Keep the process simple & focused on what is important e.g. 3-5 goals, competencies & development needs.
  2. Ensure Goals are SMART and aligned to organizational objectives.
  3. Enable & support Managers to have ongoing coaching conversations with their staff. These conversations should be honest and two-way.
  4. Have people data for decision making. Good decisions start with good data.

In good times, it is important for organizations to have a robust Performance Management process. In difficult times it is essential. Improving performance and making the most of what you have has never been more important.

If you would like to discuss how WorkCompass can help improve your Performance Management process, please contact me on LinkedIn or on colm@workcompass.com