3 Steps to Winning the New War for Talent

Once again the headlines are starting to focus on the challenges businesses have finding the right talent. IT departments are scrambling to find engineers with mobile and cloud computing skills. Marketing departments are competing for online marketers with a track record.

Without the right talent, businesses cannot innovate, grow and remain competitive. To succeed in the current business climate of rapid iteration, companies must develop the means to access the right talent or risk missing key opportunities and giving up market share to more agile competitors and startups.

Here are three steps businesses can take to win the war for talent:

Leverage the Human Cloud

Ten years ago, if a business in Akron, Ohio wanted to hire tech workers, they would have fewer options compared to companies based in tech hot spots like Silicon Valley or Boston.

Today, hiring managers are not limited by geography and can use online employment platforms to both hire and work with contractors located anywhere. As more people, processes and applications are converging to form the “human cloud,” businesses gain access to a broader pool of talent and the ability to get more work done with less overhead. Over the last decade, e-commerce brought a virtual shopping mall of products and services into every living room and forever changed how consumers shop. Today, e-work is instantly connecting companies with the world’s talent and changing the way businesses are being built and people are getting work done.

Become Managers 2.0

Increasingly, organizations are becoming a hybrid of onsite and online workers. The workplace is no longer limited to physical locations with workstations and meeting rooms; it has expanded to include virtual workrooms, file-sharing, instant messaging and telepresence. In this new world, teams are often spread across multiple locations, time zones, countries and cultures.

The new breed of managers can hire and manage onsite and online. Reminiscent of Hollywood-style maestros, they source talent just-in-time and manage people anywhere. These “Managers 2.0” know how to engage, motivate and collaborate with team members they may never meet in person. Companies with core expertise in building and managing distributed teams are developing a competitive advantage in this new world of work.

Build Trust

In the human cloud, trust is a two-way street. Companies and workers develop online reputations and evaluate each other’s history before engaging. Hiring managers use online employment platforms to compare candidates, profiles, work samples, verified work history, ratings and tested skills before deciding who to interview. Similarly, candidates check out hiring patterns and feedback about employers.

Managers of online workers are committed to the discipline of communicating with their teams often. For example, they recognize the importance of setting clear goals, establishing milestones to track progress, and publishing policies and guidelines. Additionally, they make extensive use of collaboration tools to include the people who might not be in the room, but still need to stay in-synch.

Companies that tap into the human cloud and find ways to make online workers feel part of the action will be the winners in this war for talent.

Fabio Rosati has 20 years of experience in the services and technology sectors. He is the CEO at Elance, the world's leading platform for online employment, used by businesses to hire and manage in the cloud.