What Wayne Gretzky’s father teaches us about securing talent

What Wayne Gretzky’s father teaches us about securing talent

What Wayne Gretzky’s father teaches us about securing talent

Walter Gretzky famously taught his son to “skate to where the puck is going, not where it has been.” Once his son became known as possibly the greatest hockey player of all time, this quote became elevated to an idiom of philosophical proportions. And for good reason. Gretzky’s advice was simple, clear and applicable to much more than the game of hockey. As recruiters, we are always trying to stay ahead of our clients’ needs, staying connected with highly-qualified candidates keeping ourselves informed on industry trends, all so that when a client comes to us with a need, we are already prepared with a bevy of talented individuals. But in what ways can you as hiring managers skate to where the puck is going as opposed to where it’s been?

Anticipate your talent needs

A staffing specialist is a great resource when your company needs to be reactive to a hiring need. They are an even greater asset when they can work with you proactively. Staffing is a business built on relationships, and if your company foresees openings within different departments and for different positions, an experienced recruiter can begin to sift through the pool of candidates, engaging those that could prove to be fruitful prospects. This amplifies the value of having a strong relationship with an industry-specific recruiter. They work to truly understand the nuances of your business, so that when a hiring need does arise, expectedly or otherwise, they are prepared to deliver candidates that not only match the desired qualifications but also the culture of your company. They have their finger on the pulse of talent and can move you to where the puck is going to be before it even starts moving.

Skate to where the talent is going

The best talent will only move laterally so often, and unless you are offering intrinsic value that is unmatched, those candidates are far less likely to leave their company for a lateral move. In fact, while 89% of employees would consider a lateral move within their company, only 27% would consider a lateral move to a different employer. So when you are looking for your next underwriting manager or claims manager, be prepared to consider talented and established candidates for whom these roles could be seen as a step up. The earlier you secure this talent, the better chance you have of retaining it. If you’re too hesitant to put yourself in position to receive this talent, someone else will, leaving your company to play catch up in the talent game.

Outhustle the competition

As we’ve already established, you’re not the only team occupying the skating rink, and you’re not the only skater on the ice. Talent is a finite source, and other companies are anxious to capitalize on it. If you’ve made the moves necessary to get in position (requested necessary documents, scheduled interviews), then you’re headed in the right direction. But if you’re hesitant to take the shot, then be prepared to lose that talent to a competitor. If the pieces fit, it is not the time to hold out for a better shot or try and put yourself in a more favorable position. Basically, to end on another infamous Gretzky quote, “you miss 100 percent of the shots you never take.”

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