It’s all about the money, honey!

I’ve written about the great resignation before. It has all the elements every HR professional’s nightmare is made of–mass exodus, disgruntled employees and the constant fear of losing the next top talent. I was recently asked about the one significant transformation that the pandemic had brought in and while there have been many, the one that was top of mind was people rethinking their life choices. Almost every single human being has, at some point, over the last 18 months wondered what they’re doing with their life. The search for that answer has led to many, at least the privileged ones, attempting to find work that fits into their life priorities vs the other way round.

However, that is not the only reason people are leaving.

Have organizations begun to offer outrageous offers to top talent? Yes!

Are start-ups running through VC fund while making even more outrageous offers? Yes!

Might this cause internal compression? Of course!

Is this sustainable? Who knows!

The fact of the matter is that almost every company that can, is making an offer too good to refuse. No wonder top talent is running helter-skelter. The lack of supply is making even the next tier just as valuable. No matter how good the culture, how remote the work offer and how exciting the work itself, a very fat pay check is often enough to pull away a good chunk of employees and leave the rest feeling very resentful. What must an organization that can’t pay the top buck do instead? Adopt a different strategy and work very hard.

Hiring the best is easy work. However, hiring ‘potential’ top talent and taking the effort to change internal systems to transform them into the next batch of top talent, not as easy. The Googles of the world thrive on hiring the best, paying above the market median and offering great opportunities. Would the organization still work if they lost all their top talent to the next door start-up and began hiring the average Joe instead? Right now, maybe not; because the system isn’t designed to. However, if they were to opt out of the wild ‘who pays the highest’ game and redesign the system, there is no reason it won’t.

For a while I beguiled myself into believing that money isn’t everything–maybe people leave because of different priorities, ambiguity on return to work, poor managers, wanting to work remote and a variety of other reasons. That was before I began seeing the software development engineer offers in the current market. The auction game would put Sotheby’s to shame. No wonder they’re all resigning.

It is all about the money and if you can’t play the game, it’s time to change the strategy.

What does the new strategy look like? Recognize that while firms are paying the top buck, they aren’t doing so for everyone. Forget about hiring the best, focus on the rest. Chase the ones who aren’t being chased at the moment and flip the internal design to develop them. Yes, it’s likely they’d leave too a few years down the line. It’s also likely that the market won’t stay as fierce. However, if there was ever a time to pursue more strategies than one, it is now.

What’s your strategy going to be?


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