In the war for talent, traditional enterprises must pick fights they can win

Paul Miller
Senior Analyst
May 4, 2017

19th century chemical plant in Scotland

(St. Rollox Chemical Works in Scotland by D.O. Hill, 1831. Image source: Wikipedia)

The world of work is changing, with my colleague JP Gownder among those doing a great job tracking the shift.

Despite — or perhaps because of — digitisation, robots, globalisation (and its opposite), and a less loyal workforce, competition for digital talent is high. The darlings of Silicon Valley slug it out, paying ever-higher salaries and offering ever-more excessive perks, in desperate bids to grab talent from one competitor. And then they engage in an even more desperate bid to dissuade them from jumping ship when the next offer comes in.

Spare a thought, then, for the poor traditional enterprise. It needs pretty much the same digital talent. But it can rarely afford the same rapidly inflating salaries. It is unlikely to have as cool a brand. A cubicle and a dress code is — unfairly — assumed to be more likely than an in-house chef or stock options.

And yet, in some recent research I did, these staid, lumbering, stuffy giants of yesteryear are putting up a great fight… and often winning.

There’s plenty they — and you — can do. There’s plenty they are doing. And a lot of it comes down to challenging the assumption that every great digitally savvy employee wants to live their life at a Valley startup. That’s simply not true.

So… learn what your ideal employees want. Work out what you offer them. Cast the talent net wide.

Take a look at my Big Industry Fights Silicon Valley In A War For Talent, learn from some of the companies I spoke with, and let me know what I’ve missed.

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