Look for Talent, But Not at the Cost of Your Business

July 6th, 2012

An influential book published in 2000 called The War for Talent set forth a bold theory. Businesses that emerged triumphant in the marketplace did so by being the best at finding, assessing, recruiting and keeping the most talented people out there. The idea caught on and for years, many organizations have expended a major amount of time and money finding top talent, convinced that just hiring the right people will guarantee success in the marketplace.

It’s time to take another look at this aggressive hiring approach and consider some of its shortcomings.

Impact on teamwork and motivation

First of all, hiring gifted individuals by no means ensures a company’s top performance. When you emphasize individual talent over everything else, it tends to have a negative effect on concepts like “teamwork” and “cooperation.” It also generates harmful internal rivalries, and puts up obstacles to the growth of organization-wide best practices.

In the war for talent, it’s often assumed that hiring someone from the outside is preferable to hiring from within. Not only does this set up a false assumption (an outsider will always do the job better), but it downplays the talent and experience of those already working within the organization. It should come as no surprise, therefore, when employees experience a loss of motivation and start looking for other positions where their skills and abilities may be properly recognized and rewarded.

Another danger: Believing you’ve hired the world’s best talent leads to the conviction that there’s so much built-in intelligence that “We can do no wrong.” Any business that incorporates this assumption into their daily operations is only asking for trouble. No one knows everything; in fact, the wisest people know there’s always a lot to learn.

Teamwork, not individuals

Perhaps the greatest mistake entailed in the war for talent is the idea that a company’s culture is less important than any one gifted individual. Business is really no different from any team sport. You can have a Michael Jordan or Barry Bonds on the staff, but if they don’t work well with others, if they don’t value the higher goals of the company over their personal ambitions – you can’t succeed. Businesses flourish when they’re made up of great teams, not great individuals.

So the next time you’re looking to fill an important staffing position, keep in mind the need to find a person who’s the right fit for your company – not the so-called superstar who may or may not have the right attitude and capability to help out as part of a successful team.

Find out how Meador Staffing Services can help you find the right fit for your business.