According to the 2010 U.S. Census, there are around 140,000 businesses in North Carolina and 98% of them have less than 100 employees. These small and medium-sized companies face many of the same talent issues that large firms do. They need to attract, select, motivate, deploy, develop and retain talent. However, smaller organizations face some particular challenges:
- Lack of Specialized Expertise. Large organizations will have experts in specialized areas of talent management. For example, they may have experts in assessment methodologies, diversity or instructional design. Smaller companies may know that sourcing is important, for example, but not have much specialized expertise in the subject.
- Fewer Economies of Scale. Large organizations can afford to invest in researching what assessment tests are best or which talent-management software is most reliable. Smaller companies often cannot afford to do the kind of in-depth assessment of talent management tools they would like.
- Criticality of Each Hire. An organization with 1,000 call center reps will not be much affected by a very bad or very good hire. However, if you only have five reps then each individual is touching 20 per cent of your customers.
- Criticality of Turnover. The smaller the company the more of a continuity problem it faces when there is turnover in key jobs. For example, the loss of one marketing person may mean losing the relationship with the ad agency, the history of what worked, and the location of the relevant files. The reverse problem can also occur when a lack of turnover can mean the company is stuck with the wrong people.
While it is true that small and medium-sized companies have fewer resources to throw at talent management, they do have two important advantages:
- Fewer Layers. In smaller organizations there are only two or three management layers. Driving a talent mindset through the company is much easier than in organizations where the top team only has direct contact with a small percentage of employees.
- Sense of Belonging. It is easier for talented people to develop a deep sense of belonging in small organizations where the contribution of each person is very visible.
In closing, it is important for small and medium-sized companies to take advantage of their more intimate knowledge of their talent. Whereas larger organizations may be forced to have a robust talent management system out of necessity, smaller organizations can rely more on a personal approach.
The personal approach means that both the employees and their managers can have a much more ‘hands-on’ talent management process that is not hidden behind the ‘curtain’ of an elaborate talent management software system. The result is better line-of-sight regarding employee potential and career growth opportunities. This improved visibility should lead to greater levels of engagement.
Fortunately for CAI members, smaller companies have immediate and unlimited access to experienced Talent Management professionals. All you have to do is call. Should you have any questions regarding Talent Management, please call either Rick Washburn (919-713-5247) or myself at 919-325-4113.
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