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What works better – Talent or Labour

What is talent?

The word ‘talent’ has become a buzzword in the business industry. Talent has always been linked to success. But, if talent were so readily definable, there would have been no uncertainty about success. 

Some say that talent is genetic – that people are born with it. Other’s believe it’s an acquired skill, but most will argue it’s a little bit of both.

To form a definition of talent around the workplace, one would say someone who possesses a bundle of innate or mastered skills that they use to optimize their work and produce high results, therefore high performing or high potential employees can be termed as talent.

Why is talent important?

Nearly 20 years have passed since McKinsey introduced the idea of a war for talent, talent identification in the then digital world, which meant recruiting and retaining the most talented employees in an increasingly competitive landscape. Yet, even today most organizations seem to struggle with their talent management practices. Most employees fail to cope when it comes to key talent identification markers.

Talent is more important than it is perceived. In recent studies, talented people – a handful of individuals – are the driving force of the company’s success. The companies that devote more resources to that handful see a much higher return on their investment than those who believe in mass productivity, generating equal outcomes from every employee. These individuals come under the range of 20% of the workforce, and they are responsible for 80% of the outcome, following the Pareto Effect.

Superior talent is up to eight times more productive

What is labour?

While talent is perceived as god-gifted, labor is the amount of physical, mental, and social effort that an individual puts into developing a skill, getting the work done, or producing goods and services in an economy. It supplies the expertise, manpower, and service needed to reach positions of power and influence. When compared to talented employees, a person who reached the same position through labour and hard work might not be the most knowledgeable person for the job or someone who had an idea about the job from the very beginning, but they are characterized by the effort they put in. And sometimes hard work is valued way over talent.

Why is labour important?

A person who climbed the ladder purely based on their labour and hard work would focus on growth, knowledge, and experience, and that makes them an important asset in the company. They possess qualities like:

  1. Punctuality

  2. Dependability

  3. Initiative and flexibility

  4. Motivation

  5. Clear about their priorities

  6. Learning and self-reliance

  7. Perseverance

Hardworking individuals are reliable, and they understand the value of their position and how easily replaceable it is in this increasingly competitive world. They would be motivated to put their best on the table and have their priorities fixed.

In a world where talent is a synonym of success, proper nurturing and constant support to hardworking employees can help in their skill growth, making them as valuable as an employee that has the natural talent for the job.

What works better in a workplace?

In a post-capitalist era, there is still a lot of unlearning to do for all of us in the business community. Capitalism downgrades labour, we’ve been taught growing up that labour is replaceable but talent is not. But as we grow we have to realize how people have to develop into talent. Companies should emphasize creativity, complex problem-solving, and innovation and use both labour and talent hand in hand, to optimize employee productivity.

In today’s world talent is a constantly shifting value. The world is advancing towards an era of modern computing and fast networking, it’s only a matter of time before today’s talent becomes tomorrow’s labour. So, talent is not a constant. And neither is it in abundance. “Failure to attract and retain top talent” was the number-one issue in the Conference Board’s 2016 survey of global CEOs—before economic growth and competitive intensity. Companies are constantly looking for people with sophisticated skills rather than experience. But here is where the problem lies. If we only select the top 10% of the whole unemployed workforce and don’t bother about the other 90%, there would be scarcity.

Here if we take the hardworking employees, who don’t mind putting in the labour to acquire those skills, that skill gap can be brought down by a margin percentage. 

Lucky are the people who are born with brains and are capable of potential genius. But that won’t take you far without motivation, the zeal to improve, perseverance, and hard work. Therefore, if talent and hard work go hand in hand it provides better results. Anyone can have an idea, vision, or dream, but it takes that 90% hard-working employee to make it closer to becoming a reality.

Natural talent is an inborn gift and is essential to reach the top, but it tends to be wasted. On the other hand, hard work can grow talent, allow for more success, and even become a natural talent in itself.

“Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is hard work.”

For your growth,

Team Shoonyas

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