Talent is a hot topic these days. Businesses are keen on identifying the right labor pools during their site selection process; the availability of a strong workforce is key to a community’s competitiveness. This reality is driving initiatives across the country to help retain, develop, and attract the right talent.

While all of these talent initiatives are well intentioned, are they effective? Whether you are a business, utility, or EDO, how do you determine which initiative to engage?

Before committing time and resources to a talent program, there are a few things to consider.

  • First, clearly identify the talent issue that you are looking to address.
  • Next, determine the root of the talent issue you are looking to address. For example, is the root of your issue based in housing, training, transportation, or just a lack of people? By defining the issue(s) and root causes first, businesses, utilities, and EDOs can start to eliminate programs that do not directly address the core issues that are restricting talent.
  • It is also important to ensure that the potential talent programs are impactful and aligned with your organization’s strategic vision. Programs that don’t solve the problem should be avoided.  So too should programs that don’t align with your organization. One indicator of this type of alignment is whether businesses and other organizations would be proud to have their own employees participate – even if those organizations can’t spare the people for that level of involvement.
  • There should be clearly defined measures of success. There is never a shortage of good ideas, but there is always a shortage of resources. A successful talent program is one that has metrics, milestones, and good reporting. It is not important to know every detail of the program. But every program should be able to clearly answer two questions – “What does success look like?” and “How will I know if the program is succeeding or failing?”
  • Finally, it is important to review the success of the program and its alignment with your business or organization periodically to ensure that the appropriate progress is being made.

Talent is a tough issue, and the competition is stiff. For most businesses, utilities, and EDOs, talent development is not a core competency. But, with a strong understanding of how to manage their involvement, these organizations can still help impact talent competitiveness in their region on their own terms.

For more about evaluating and designing talent programs for your organization and other economic development issues, or to learn about Ady Advantage and the services we offer, visit our website at www.adyadvantage.com or give us a call at 608.663.9218. I or a member of my team would be happy to speak with you.

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