Human Resources Today

So, there’s word of a new kid on the block. Someone else moving in on your organization’s talent turf. It’s big news. It’s a very well-known company. And, they bring the promise of hundreds—perhaps thousands—of competitively paying jobs and a shiny new employment experience. Your executives are freaking out a little.

Truth be told, you’re more than a bit concerned. With unemployment teetering around 3.0% in your local area, it’s already hard enough attracting qualified candidates and retaining employees … and now THIS. How will your company compete in this new battle for talent?

There’s no way.

Or is there?

When an organization announces its plans to move in next door, it becomes more than a talent acquisition challenge. It’s an organizational challenge. And leaders from across the business have a real opportunity to step up and show what they are made of. This is the time to be strategic and plan with purpose; to reach across the silos (or aisles) and work cross-functionally;to better understand the current state of employee retention, engagement, and recruitment by asking the big questions and listening to the real answers. (<--Click to tweet this!)

It’s easy to start externally and think about the challenges a new talent competitor presents to recruitment (We’ll just hire more people.) However, it’s harder to look introspectively and consider fixing the pre-existing challenges that would make your employees want to leave in the first place (Let’s make this truly a great place to be). By doing the latter and implementing (or more fully activating) an employer brand strategy, you can bring in talent that will thrive in your organization. Successful employer branding can even reduce early turnover by 40% within the first six months. Perhaps a new competitor is just the motivation needed to bring your workplace aspirations to fruition.

The team at exaqueo is ready to help you begin. When a new talent competitor moves to town, these are the questions C-suite and leaders of Human Resources, Talent Acquisition, Internal and External Communications, Legal, and Employee Resource Groups should start asking themselves and one another:

  • Do we know the temperature of current employee engagement?

  • What are the greatest risks as they relate to employee engagement?

  • Will our employees be easily poached and/or jump ship to join the competition?

  • Should we host internal focus groups to understand what our employees are thinking about the new company’s arrival?

  • Are there certain areas of the business we think our people are more likely to be “wowed” away by?

  • What can we do internally to stay ahead of potential talent risks?

  • Do we need a workgroup, consultant, or both to help think through our approach?

  • What are the “low-hanging fruit” fixes we can easily implement?

  • How can we amplify our company culture and employee experience, as well as internal mobility and development opportunities?

  • Could an internal PR strategy help under the circumstances?

The fire is lit. But there’s no need to panic. Take a deep breath and start with the above questions. Talk to other professionals too—get their feedback, experience, and advice. The new company isn’t moving in tomorrow and you have plenty of runway to build and execute a thoughtful plan. Yes, there’s a situation—but you’ve got a plan.

Have you experienced this situation? What advice do you have for HR leaders and peers who may be on the cusp of a new battle for talent? Share your thoughts below.


Shannon Smedstad (@shannonsmedstad) is an Engagement Director and Principal Employer Brand Strategist for exaqueo, an employer brand experience firm building employer brands and the talent strategies that drive them through research, consulting, and creative and digital execution. Contact exaqueo to learn more about our employer brand innovation, workforce research, and recruitment strategy offerings.


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