Gary Allison's Leadership Blog

Leadership and Teams13 Dec 2011 10:13 am

Sunday, an article appeared in our local paper that has everyone buzzing over a talent shortage in Austin. I agree a talent crunch may be looming in the near term, and we’ve been working to prepare for it. Rather than describe some of our recruiting strategies here for continued growth through this crunch, I thought I’d share a few simple things that we do to take care of the people we already have. I’m comfortable sharing this because they are so simple, but require so much effort and constant attention, our competitors will likely not follow this advice anyway.

To sum it all up succinctly: ensure people have meaningful work, that they work with truly excellent peers, put them in control of their efforts, recognize their success both individually and as a team, and keep them pointed towards a compelling vision. Simple, right?

The challenge in the above is that you have to create a culture by which all of this is possible. This culture creation is the extremely challenging aspect – it requires years of investment and continual nurturing. And, since this culture drives even more success, you have to be able to scale the team and yet retain the culture.

So, a talent crunch is likely indeed coming. When the COO of facebook is out encouraging students to study computer science, you can be sure there’s an issue. But those companies without the culture I describe here will be far more crunched than those with one.

One Response to “Leading through a talent crunch”

  1. on 19 Dec 2011 at 4:47 pm Gerry Thome

    Gary — sage advice for sure. Hire smart people, give them work they enjoy that is meaningful for the company, and get out of their way. Smart people acquire more smart people. Keeping smart people in your employ is more about the work, and less about wage. The smart people at your company are your best recruiting tools.

    Lastly, quickly identify your mistakes (bad hires) and clean them up.