Think about most U.S. cities. What do they have in common? I travel all over the U.S. and to be honest, it’s all starting to look a lot alike!
Every city has a mall or three. At these malls, you’ll find the same restaurants. Chilis, Olive Garden, Applebee’s, Bravo, steak places, some random Japanese hibachi place, etc. Usually, down from the mal, you’ll find a Home Depot. Across the street from Home Depot, you’ll find a Lowes. Down from those are the car dealerships.
Sound like your city!?
Our cities are set up like this because it works. Putting all of these competitive places close together works for the consumer. They like all the choices close together.
Talent really isn’t much different.
If I’m a nurse, I want to be close hospitals. The more hospitals the better. That way if my job at one hospital isn’t working out, I don’t have to commute all the way across town to another hospital. If I’m in IT having a bunch of tech companies in the same area is desirable for the same reason.
What we don’t find, normally, are employers working together to solve their talent issues. A cook at one restaurant might be begging for more hours, but we never think about sharing that cook with the restaurant next door. We force the talent to go figure this out on their own.
Traditionally, I think career fairs thought they were doing this. Bring all the employers to one location and then all the talent can come and pick who they want to work with. It’s a start, but this isn’t really organizations working together to bring in more and better talent.
A modern-day equivalent to the traditional career fair might be cities working to ‘attract’ talent to their cities from places like Silicone Valley. In recent years, Minneapolis has been working to position themselves as a Midwest IT hub, so local and state government dollars have been working to get workers from other cities to come to Minneapolis.
What I’m talking about is what if two companies came together to share their talent databases for the benefit of both? Could it work? What would get in the way?
I think it could work. I think the organizations involved would be some forward-thinking leadership, some tight rules of engagement, and a very new way of thinking about collaboration.
So often we make a hire of someone we know if talented, but it doesn’t work out for a number of reasons, many times those reasons are self-inflicted by the organization. What if you could ‘move’ that talent to your ‘talent partner’ organization for a fresh start, and vice versa?
I love times when talent is tight because it forces us to start thinking about different solutions and ways of doing things. We all have talent in our databases that we aren’t using and might never use, but someone else might have exactly what we need in their database.
Instead, we sit on our unused, expensive inventory of candidates and do nothing. That doesn’t seem like a smart business practice…