When I worked at Procter and Gamble, one of the best trainings I attended was Theory of Constraints. I was a new Mechanical Engineer in “Dry Laundry” (yes, for the young people…  there was powder before pods). I was in the Product Supply division supporting the plants, and a favorite part of my job was process improvement. One of our very smart leaders developed the Theory of Constraint training. We problem-solved improvements in plants with fairly complex models; the key was to find the constraint.Think about a garden hose, if it has a crink it in, it is limited at that spot. It doesn’t matter how much water you “try” to push through it, it gets stuck. So, the life lesson I learned was to look for and solve for the constraint first – then find the next, and the next.

Right now, the constraint is Employees (Talent)

This is the shift happening due to the New Reality of labor shortages. “Labor Constraints” is the #1 Threat of most of my clients’ strategic plans. Here are a couple of things to ask yourself:

  1. Are you treating “Recruiting employees” like “Prospecting Customers?” A recent article from the Wall Street Journal stated, “More companies are increasingly adopting tactics learned from retail marketers, staffing experts say, and trying to maintain contact with prospects through regular emails or texts.”

The traditional sort of recruiting was post and pray. –Barry Asin, President of Staffing Industry Analysts

The Cheesecake Factory has always engaged new candidates, past applicants and alumni in our recruitment efforts. We have increased our outreach to all potential candidates through various third party job board databases and our own talent network database. – Dina Barmasse-Gray, Senior Vice President of Human Resources

2. Are your recognizing and appreciating loyal employees you don’t want to lose? It might be a good time for handwritten “thank you” cards, cool swag, fun gift cards, and/or a pay raise.

3. How positive and engaging are your Purpose, Values, and Vision? According to Deloitte’s 2020 Global Human Capital Trends study, 44% of those surveyed said ALIGNMENT with their organization’s purpose and values was the BIGGEST driver to a sense of belonging at work.

4. How “Flexible” are you? Every day we’re reading articles about how hiring and retaining have changed forever. Here is another quote from a WSJ article to keep in mind, as you consider attracting and retaining top talent: “There’s no question that employee expectations have been changed forever. These days flexibility is really table stakes,” said Twitter chief human resource officer, Jennifer Christie. Consider “flexibility” in many ways – hours, days, remote, schedules, projects, work, teams, etc.

The question I am asking my clients: If “Talent” is your “growth constraint” (i.e., you have more work than the current capacity to complete), what additional resources/money and strategic thinking are you investing?

We are highlighting six of these companies at our virtual Hiring and Retention Summit on August 17 from 2pm – 3:30pm. We would love for you to join us and share yours.