The war for talent, a term coined nearly two decades ago to describe the challenges of recruiting and retaining key employees, shows no signs of abating anytime soon. In fact, as many well know, it’s only gotten worse. As a result, companies are more aware than ever of the need to address this, looking not only to existing solutions (albeit with tweaks) but out-of-the-box and alternative approaches that are proving surprisingly effective.

How Bad Is Worse?

According to a recent Mercer survey (2016 Talent Trends), about 90 percent of respondents expected the talent squeeze to intensify in the year ahead and more than one in three believed this intensification would be significant.1 Another survey (The Talent Imperative from Forbes) notes that the hardest positions to fill are/will be experienced mid-level and senior personnel (for instance, VPs, directors, and business unit heads).2

The reasons given for the above range from those that have long existed to those that are relatively new. A recent SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) survey of more than 3,300 members notes that reasons for the difficulties in filling positions include too few applicants; lack of experience, education, training, credentials and skills (the latter ranging from technical and “soft” skills to basics like reading, writing, math, etc.) and competition from other employers. Also cited in the talent trends report was dissatisfaction or lack of interest with the job being offered, such as compensation, job type, and job location.With regard to the lack of qualified and/or experienced applicants, one of the largest contributing factors is that retiring baby boomers who are highly skilled in their fields are not being replaced quickly enough by younger workers with the same skill sets.

Another factor noted in the SHRM survey…