Losing managers is creating new talent deficit for many

Losing any employee is bad enough, but losing a good manager can be devastating to a department or small or medium-sized business. A new report by EMSI, shows that management occupations are in demand – not because companies are adding management jobs, but because they are losing managers and have to replace them.

This is based on their interpretation of the data, but it seems consistent with the overall mood and sentiment in the workplace right now. Managers, especially good managers, are tired after more than two years of lackluster raises and lack of resources, and are looking for a way out.

This is also consistent with another report, from a division of Manpower, which found that 86 percent of a surveyed group of 700 U.S. workers said they were going to look for a new job in 2013. Another eight percent said they might, but were already networking. You can read my take on that here to see if you can figure out who might be leaving.

This is a great example of how companies can fall into a talent deficit. What is a talent deficit? It’s when you plan for only a certain amount of hiring, say in a modest recovery, and end up not only needing new people, but having to fill vacancies and you can’t keep up with either.

The basic cycle goes like this: You have 10 open jobs and you have limited recruiting resources working on them. Only five actually get filled in a reasonable amount of time. In that time however, you lose 10 more people, resulting in 15 total jobs you now have to fill. This continues, as 15 becomes 20, and 20 becomes 25 and so on. You are constantly running in a deficit, with more job openings each day, week or month putting you further and further behind.

Here’s the kicker to it: You likely won’t know which jobs, skills and areas will be affected. You may have to recruit for executive management, research and development, sales, engineering, IT, who knows?

If you were like congress, you could borrow your way out, but sadly, it doesn’t work that way for talent acquisition. Only planning and communication can help. This is especially important with management positions.

Planning is about knowing your recruiting resources and having some contingency plans in place. In a perfect world, you would sell management on the idea that you constantly need to be recruiting and building a solid employment brand even when you have no openings. OK, I know that plan probably died somewhere along the roadside in 2009 or 2010. But the point is; you need to figure out what internal and external recruiting resources you have available to you.

Communication can be as simple as talking to hiring managers and department managers about what they need, who they need and when they need them. HR and talent acquisition professionals need to partner with hiring managers more than ever to get anything done with scant resources. Prioritize, realize (as in, realize what the real situation is at your company), and get as much information as you can.

These predictions, like many, may not turn out to be correct, but think about if even a small percentage, say 10-20% of your managers, headed out the door. What would you do?


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