The War for Talent ...continued

If you stop for a moment and listen you can almost hear the feet of the boomers marching toward retirement. In ever increasing numbers Canadians are turning 65. The march began January 2011 when the first of Canada's 7 million Baby Boomers reached age 65. Now one thousand a day reach official retirement age ... that's 30,000 a month and 365,000 a year ... a number that will continue to grow for the next 17 years. It is only a matter of time until your municipality comes under the assault of these statistics.


As the battle rages, over the next few years, there simply won't be enough of the"good guys" to go around. Many of those I speak with mistakenly believe that there is a younger generation coming along who will fill the ranks depleted by the retiring boomers. Sadly that's just not reality. A FACT that is often overlooked is this: there are only 60% as many Genexers as there were Baby Boomers, so every Genexer took a Boomer's job we would still come up 40 % short.


Whether you are in a small town or a large city the War for Talent has already reached you or will very very soon... so what is the best way to arm your staff and to defend your municipality?




One thing is sure: you can't fight this War for Talent the old fashioned way. For example if you are still putting ads in the paper or postings on some web site, hoping that the right person will fall through the door then you are thinking like the Red Coats thought.

They fought wars in centuries past by lining their men up in the battlefield, only to see them get popped off by enemy bullets.


It is a fact that most of the people watching the ads are either unemployed or unhappy... probably both! If you are planning to do your own recruiting by advertising then watch out, you are very likely to hire the person who made the last town miserable.




The best defense, as they say, is a good offence. Savvy municipal leaders already have a plan in place to make sure that their city won't be left wondering what hit them. They have already thought of bringing in reinforcements. They have a well defined succession plan! The real key to succession planning is to create a match between a municipality's future needs and the goals and dreams of individual staffers.

A well thought out succession plan increases the odds that you'll keep your very best employees. Staff will see that time, attention and skill development is being invested with their career development in mind. When staff is challenged and rewarded the need to look at opportunities in other cities is reduced dramatically




As I travel across Canada to various municipal conferences, I am constantly hearing the casualty reports from The War for Talent. In unprecedented numbers I am hearing accounts like "our Town Manager just gave us her resignation" or "we have been looking for a Manager of Water Waste/water for months and can't find one" ...or this, often reported, intelligence "we were convinced we could find a Treasurer on our own, but you wouldn't believe the poor quality of the people applying". I get the same heartbreaking news every day from Mayors and City Managers across Canada "our key staff is either resigning to retire or to take up new posts in new municipalities"


In the days ahead you'll need every modern weapon possible if you intend to wage a successful War for Talent in your municipality, a succession plan strategy, a great HR department, new ways of thinking and finally a good relationship with a powerful recruiter. 


Bruce Malcolm
Ravenhill Group Inc