How To: Find Talent & Increase Wages Using Internal Resources

Episode #1074: Continuing our review of The Great Resignation, Severin Sorensen, Host and Curator of the Arete Coach Podcast, reviews the current state of wage inflation and labor scarcity. There are 2X as many open positions as there are identified unemployed workers to fill them. This scarcity of labor is impacting wages, worker sentiment, and compensation. In this episode of the Arete Coach Podcast, Severin Sorensen discusses 10 ways to find more talent and 9 ways to pay employees higher wages from internal company resources. He also discusses incentives, compensation, gainsharing, and qualities of great places to work.



About Severin Sorensen

Severin Sorensen is a serial entrepreneur and lifetime learner with a passionate curiosity for people and businesses. Severin is the CEO of ePraxis LLC, a premier level retained search firm that provides executive headhunting, talent selection, and executive coaching. In addition to finding top talent, Severin has provided over 7,500+ hours of paid executive coaching to entrepreneurs, CEOs, Presidents, and C-level executives. Severin is an ICF ACSTH Certified Executive Coach, Certified Organizational Development Coach, Certified Life Coach, and Certified Positive Intelligence® Coach. Severin is the founder/producer of a new podcast, Arete Coach, that explores the art and science of executive coaching with some of the industry's best coaches.


From 2010-2018 Severin was also a Vistage Chair where he coached three CEO and key executive groups. In 2011, Severin received the "Rookie of the Year Chair Award" from Vistage. Since 2013, Severin has added international speaking for Vistage, CEO conferences, executive peer groups, and corporations on the topic of identifying and hiring difference-making top talent.


After graduate school, Severin moved to Washington, DC, where he worked on security-related economic and public policy issues that included a brief stint in The White House, as a Special Assistant to the President, for George H. Bush (POTUS 41). In 1994, Severin founded Sparta Consulting Corp., and Sparta provided world-class physical security and safety related management consulting services for public and private sector entities. From 1994-2002, Severin managed HUD's Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design technical assistance and training program. In 2005, Severin sold Sparta to Westec Interactive (Digital Witness), which was subsequently acquired by Interface Security.


Severin, a native Californian, grew up in Salt Lake City, UT and graduated with honors from the University of Utah with Economics and Political Science degrees. He completed graduate studies in economics at King's College, Cambridge University (England), where he earned a M.Phil. degree in Economics. Severin has a great love and appreciation for sports, and while overseas, Severin rowed for the King's College Boat Club, and played basketball for the Cambridge University Basketball Team (1986-87).


Key highlights


10 places to find talent

Timestamp 06:55


Severin suggests 10 places to find more talent, 8 of which are beyond the steal-away hire:

  1. Find talent in your own company and retain current employees

  2. Champion the steal-away hire and protect your business from others’ attempts to steal-away your employees

  3. Incorporate retired or semi-retired laborers into your company

  4. Invite younger individuals to your workforce

  5. Create job training academies and boot camps

  6. Hire retiring military personnel

  7. Focus on rural insourcing

  8. Hire from the neuro-diverse community

  9. Hire recovering criminal offenders

  10. Think about the jobs to be done and how those jobs might be completed with less labor

9 ways to increase employee wages with internal resources

Timestamp 13:16

In Severin’s coaching and speaking, he has noticed an uptick in executives asking the question: “How do I pay more wages to my people in order to retain them?” In response, Severin shares 9 key internal sources that can be used to pay employees higher wages:

  1. Hire people who can do more than the average employee and pay them more

  2. Adopt the “help me help you make more money” method

  3. Implement a multi-tiered strategy or reward system such as a salary matrix, individual contribution incentives, team incentives, and rewards for intangibles (certifications, degrees, etc.)

  4. Create employee dashboards and project performance indicators. Measure improvements and share a portion of profit increase with employees

  5. Involve employees in managing the cost of your enterprise and gainshare saved money with your employees

  6. Re-examine benefit plans and redirect funds to what employees most value

  7. Reduce employee headcount and share savings with the team

  8. Revisit compensation plans and reward for the revenue most wanted

  9. Consider other employee retention strategies such as deferred income, interest, phantom stock, stock option plans, equity participation plans, annuities, 401K contributions, and delayed bonuses

What makes employees stay

Timestamp 28:48

Severin shares insight from a 2019 study that states, “People leave managers, not companies.” He shares that in order to retain your best people, executives and managers should work to be better bosses. He then outlines the Top 11 Reasons Why Talented Employees Stay from Kittleson and Carpo Consulting. They: are paid well, mentored, feel valued and recognized, are inspired to work smarter, believe in the company mission and vision, work in an environment that gives them satisfaction, find their work as exciting and challenging, have a great relationship with their superiors, enjoy a work-life balance, have career growth, are offered learning and development opportunities, and have good benefits and incentives.


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