Candidate Pools & Proactive Recruiting

Talent Shortage Solution: Share Your Talent with Your Competitors?

A white paper by ManpowerGroup Solutions tackles the problem of the current talent shortage in many industries—which projections show will only get worse. Their solution? Create an official talent pool sharing system amongst competitors, to the benefit of all involved—from the worker to the C-suite.

A recent white paper by the ManpowerGroup comes with a shocking conclusion: sharing talent pools in an official capacity with your competitors might be the only way to solve the talent shortage seen in the face of enormous potential growth. What’s more, according to the white paper, many competitors already share their talent pool—but because it’s not through official channels with a set of guidelines, it’s not doing anyone any favors.

The white paper is titled Collaborating with Competitors: Sharing Talent Pools to Meet Workforce Challenges and is written by the vice president of strategic client solutions of ManpowerGroup, Amy Doyle.

“Companies may be in hiring mode, but the harsh reality is there is not enough talent to meet demand,” says Doyle. “With the shortage showing no signs of easing, and skills needs changing faster than ever, meeting growth objectives requires new ways of thinking, behaving, and hiring.”

Doyle lists four trends that are the reasons why the current atmosphere of recruiting requires drastic actions like talent pool sharing.

  1. The structure of the workplace is changing. Between telecommuting, part-time work, subcontracting, and contingent workers, the office has changed significantly from what it was even a decade ago. There is no reason to believe that it won’t continue to change.
  2. A change in the composition of the workforce. Millennials comprise larger percentages of the workforce than ever—and that percentage will rise before it falls. With that change comes a complete change in both job expectations and the expectations of their employers.
  3. There are fewer qualified workers to go around. Whether it’s because of the upswing in the economy or some other factor, the fact is that companies are finding it harder than ever to fill vacancies with quality employees. There is also a larger focus on talent acquisition and retention given the extreme costs of a high turnover rate.
  4. Companies are growing. The economy has balanced off, and the atmosphere is ripe for business. Companies want to expand, and they need talent to do so. And not just any talent. They want just the right people for the job.

Doyle concludes from these trends that “a new approach to hiring is needed, one in which talent has the opportunity to develop and thrive in agile environments while enabling growth-oriented companies to maximize available talent.”

Isn’t That Pretty Radical?

On the surface, sharing your hard-earned, vitally important talent pool with your competitor might seem a little bit like treason. But there are several important things to consider, according to Doyle. First, many employers already share talent pools, though not in any formalized way. She says, “Every time an employee is recruited by a competitor or enters into a bidding war, employers collaborate (albeit unwittingly) within the same pool.”

Doyle mentions that certain other current systems also share talent pools, such as freelancer management system platforms. She adds, “However, many of these systems do not bring in industry expertise, market knowledge or compliance experience, nor are they designed to promote the engagement and development of talent.”

In fact, the problem with the way that talent pools are currently shared means that it’s a dog-eat-dog world without rules or boundaries, and as a result, a lot of energy is wasted, and a lot of opportunities are missed. Instead, Doyle proposes “formalizing what is already happening.” If employers do so, they “won’t’ just share talent. They will also be able to share costs and resources related to sourcing, recruiting, and administration, lowering overall costs, and providing access to an established pool of talent on an as-needed basis.”

Sure, the concept might seem on the surface too radical. But as we have seen, the most radical aspect involves the lack of a real system for controlling and making profitable what is already being done by accident.

How Would It Work?

What Doyle proposes isn’t to just open up your address book and mail it to your competitor. Instead, her suggested model combines strategically chosen types of workers and positions to be shared in a mutually beneficial, protected manner.

The goal, according to Doyle, is to “develop a talent pool that can be shared, and drawn upon as needed, by multiple companies. Additionally, retain the best talent for the amount of time they are needed.” This would be an alternative to the hire-as-you-go method that a recent BLR® survey found nearly 70% of employers do.

Doyle continues, “On the supply side, talent would be able to access career development and guidance while moving seamlessly from one company to another and back again as needed.”

In the rest of the article, we will present details on how a shared talent pool would work.