With other factors like technology, infrastructure, opportunities, threats and markets being almost the same for all companies, the real defining factor is indeed the human capital within each company. Companies that have endured it all, have always focused on investing in their human capital before they invested in a business idea/plan.
The investment in human capital must begin early on – at the talent acquisition stage itself. Every employee that an organization hires needs to fit in. Clear roles, responsibilities, performance parameters, reporting structure, rewards, career growth etc. should be defined for each employee before he/she comes in. If an organization spends enough time figuring that out for each of its employee, it shows its commitment towards its people. A successful start up may not have all this stuff well documented yet the leader(s) will most definitely know where each of the new hires will fit in, what value they will add and what support each one would need to step up when the organization grows.
During the good times, some organizations just rush with their recruitment process to bring on board the people they so desperately need. Result, a lot of dissatisfied, disengaged and disillusioned employees and an organization can have difficulty managing such negativity even in the best of times. Organizations lose an important opportunity to engage with their new hires if they do not have a well thought out plan for them. The organization vision and mission must make sense to people even before they come on board.
In fact successful organizations first look within for talent before they start looking outside. The benefits are many. Employees know that their contributions matter thus ‘engaging’ them and of course there are huge savings in cost and time. Recent times have seen considerable rise in contingency workers as also virtual workers. Organizations should give adequate considerations to these arrangements to assess if that can meet their talent requirements.
Sometimes organizations hire people for just one skill. There could be situations when having and not having that skill itself may seem like a make or break situation for an organization (especially in small organizations). Yet increasingly it is being realized by organizations that people need to have the ability able to ramp up on new skills quickly and also take on different responsibilities when the need arises.
It is imperative that organizations work on a long term talent acquisition plan. Reactive short term tactical hiring may lead organizations to detrimental consequences like downsizing which can cause tremendous pressure not only on the outgoing employees but on the entire organization. Most importantly organizations need to revisit their talent acquisition strategy as often as they visit their business strategy.