The best ways to prepare for the evolving talent war

Jim Moriarty
4 min readAug 24, 2021
To build a future-proof workforce is to build it around where and how talent want to work — Photo Christin Hume on Unsplash

We read every day that there’s an escalating tension in the air regarding talent. In my opinion, most stories offer a shallow version of this larger shift. This talent war is unlike any previous ones. Different forces are driving it, so we can expect the trajectory to be distinctive.

Here are six things you can do to take a proactive, leadership mode.

1. Focus on the causes and not the symptoms.

Last month posted a jaw-dropping statistic “95% of workers are thinking about quitting their jobs.” That’s damn close to 100%. Everyone is thinking about quitting their jobs?! I get it; we’d all benefit from a change of scenery. But the 95% number fails us because it’s clickbait.

We must go deeper, focus on the cause of this evolution and what’s fueling it. Deep forces have taken root in recent years and they’re unlike any we’ve seen before. All of them have a role in the talent war and contribute to what feels like a tectonic shift.

Surge of transparency. This trend continues to unfold in front of us. Employers must embrace the fact that “internal” and “external” don’t exist. Everything is connected. Today’s most reputable brands embrace this reality and are shifting from siloed approaches to omnipresent ones. Employers should assume existing and prospective talent have complete awareness of what they and their competitors are willing to offer.

Rise of personal agency, advocacy and activism. 10 years ago to be an activist was to be an oddball. Now the opposite is true. If you don’t stand for something, expect to be shunned. The ubiquity of mobile devices has fueled this shift and there is no going back — better to lean into this era and use it to your advantage.

Misalignment of personal and corporate values. At the beginning of last year Korn Ferry shared that, “Nearly 1/3 workers say their top 2020 resolution is finding a new job. Top reason cited, lack of fit between corporate culture and their values.” To minimize this point is to feel it’s effect on your workforce.

Acceleration of grassroots organizing. 10 years ago it was hard to find and activate a dozen people, in close proximity, who shared your point of view on an issue. Today it’s a breeze