Without copying Jean Giraudoux, there is a question worth asking in light of two surveys conducted on the search for talent and future leaders in business today. According to a study done by Manpower with 30,000 companies worldwide, a third of them are struggling to recruit executives and managers given the relative scarcity of talent in the labor market. And yet there isn't a lack of candidates- the number hasn't stopped rising during this time of crisis... It turns out that there is not always the right match between candidates' qualifications and those required by the post.
Hence the temptation of a growing number of companies to get their talent from competitors or at least outside the company. Another survey, conducted by the Boston Consulting Group in collaboration with the World of People Management Federation (survey done with 5 000 companies) confirmed as these companies recruit nearly 50% of their leadership outside the company.
This is a terrible mistake, according to Boris Groysberg, professor at Harvard and author of the book "Chasing the stars; The Myth of Talent and the Portability of Performance."
He did a study on the performance of financial analysts and their developments through their careers. Surprising as it may seem, it appears that these stars of Wall Street see their performance deteriorate when they change companies. Disorientation, loss of revenue, loss of history and culture, the need to rebuild relationships, etc.. Fatigue sets in and motivation deteriorates. In short, according to Boris Groysberg, change is not a sign of good performance. The relationship between the individual and his or her job is so extremely powerful that its modification through a job transfer is always disturbing. The study also shows that it is less so for women, who are less dependent on their environment than men.
So, why seek out something that you might already have?
A recent study from the IBM Institute for Business Value entitled: "Human Resources: transcending boundaries / CHRO IBM Global Study", suggests that "HR directors will need to polarize their efforts on three areas in which they recognize the importance today but they are not currently able to implement: to train future leaders, to quickly develop the skills and abilities of staff, and to foster collaboration and knowledge sharing. "
The same debate can be found elsewhere, mutatis mutandis, across all countries, as highlighted recently in the Financial Times: Business urged to focus is homegrown workers (November 18, 2010).
It seems rather clear that the war for talent is no substitute for developing a company's own internal resources; including relevant work on defining the competencies required of positions, and establishing, through corporate universities , training programs to all those who can claim the ability to be a manager. All of this without being forced to seek outside the company, the war for talent could be avoided.