Not Business as Usual: The 3C model for finding great employees |

Not Business as Usual: The 3C model for finding great employees

John Riddell
Not Business as Usual
John Ridell writes a business column and a fun, Zoomer-Boomer outdoor column for the Sky-Hi News.

Most entrepreneurial managers are in agreement on the importance of attracting and retaining talent. But when you get beyond the platitudes, there is a justifiable degree of discomfort when addressing the question of “how.” Investigation of this discomfort reveals a strong tendency for traditional perspectives that often start and end with local market price and local market incentives with maybe a dash of good luck thrown in. By employing a simple framework, however, a much more balanced and successful approach can be utilized and sustained. I call my approach to this the 3C model and I have used it with many companies in many industries in putting together solutions to deal with the human capital challenge.

The 3C’s stand for the variables of Cost, Competency, and Capability. Cost is defined as the price you have to pay to attract the talent. Many HR professionals think of this as an application of a salary survey. Competency is a realistic view of just how good does the candidate have to be to succeed in the job. What level of expertise is required? And Capability has to do with the company’s financial resources. How much can we afford to pay? The model’s framework attempts to first understand the definitions then apply them in a balanced approach that will be unique to every company. You can think of these variables as circles in a Venn diagram with their overlaps representing the best solution. The relative sizes of the circles have to do with the realities of the marketplace and their relative importance for the individual company.

Certainly each variable has a number of points for consideration. Cost, for example, is impacted by degree of experience required. As continuously reported for Grand County, it can also be driven by geography. Competency means you need to have a good feel for just how good does good enough have to be. Might competency also include a component of future development? And from a capability, what are some of the things that could go into a designed package that might trade flexibility for hard dollars or fixed rewards for very high variable rewards? All of these and more are tools within the 3C framework that every entrepreneurial manager can access.

It is easy to be stymied in today’s competitive marketplace with the assumption that limited resources can only attract inferior talent. Nothing could be further from the truth. Simply sitting down and thinking through the intersection of these variables often allows creative managers to come up with new and creative solutions that enable their companies to attract and retain talent in new and creative ways. As companies continue to pursue talented individuals as the lifeblood of their requirement for innovative survival, so too is the need for this same creative talent in the core process of talent recruitment. Even if you have never thought of yourself as being particularly creative, utilizing this framework is guaranteed to uncover new opportunities. And from an entrepreneurial manager’s perspective, how good is that?

Following a successful international business career, John Riddell turned his attention to small business/entrepreneurial pursuits that included corporate turn-arounds, start-ups, teaching as an adjunct business school professor, authoring noted business and sports columns, and serving as VP for the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce directing its Center for Entrepreneurial Growth. He can be contacted at

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