How to ensure you don’t waste or lose good talent

Analysis

How to ensure you don’t waste or lose good talent

Talent matters, because it's high value, scarce and highly difficult to replace. Charisse Gray explains how to attract and retain the best people.

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Talent matters, because it's high value, scarce and highly difficult to replace.

In the book Leading Organizations, McKinsey senior partners Scott Keller and Mary Meaney, address the critical issue of why talent in a business is so important.

They claim that superior talent is up to eight times more productive. And studies of businesses reveal that the gap rises with a job’s complexity. In highly complex occupations – the information- and interaction-intensive work of managers, software developers, and the like – high performers are an astounding 800 per cent more productive.

The late Steve Jobs of Apple summed up talent’s importance with this advice: “Go after the cream of the cream. A small team of A+ players can run circles around a giant team of B and C players.”

Some undisputable facts


Great talent is scarce and getting scarcer.

The competition is becoming increasingly fierce to not only attract, but just as importantly, retain employees.

What do talented staff want?

  • To move forward, to develop in a job where they can stretch themselves. Lots of new learning experiences. 
  • A culture of innovative or creative freedom– the ability to look outside the box, try new things, new processes. Openness to change.
  • To be surrounded by like-minded, talented staff. People they can learn from.
  • To bounce out of bed every morning eager to go to work.

What turns talented staff away from the business

 
The killers
  • incompetence, inefficiency, and bureaucracy gone mad. 
  • non-transparency
  • poor, or lack of, communication
  • lack of authenticity
  • senior management indifference
  • line management lack of effort. Not dealing with chronic under-performers. They find it difficult to have the ‘hard conversations’
  • silo mentality
  • senior management failing to align the talent management strategy with the overall business strategy
  • succession planning and resource allocation programs aren’t rigorous enough to manage people to roles 
  • the CEO and/or senior management team don’t have a shared view of most pivotal roles.

Strategies for building a bank of GREAT talent

  • Understand the business imperative and ensure talent management forms part of your business strategy.
  • Involve senior leaders in talent development during the early stages of strategy development. This allows you to align the behaviour and capabilities of the workforce with the priorities of the business.
  • Make this strategy visible and transparent and communicate it to the business and all staff
  • Ensure senior management is committed to talent management initiatives.
  • Constantly nurture your best talent, rather than just doing the year-end performance review. Discuss possibilities of promotion and leadership opportunities.
  • Make line managers unambiguously responsible for developing the skills and knowledge of their employees.
  • Include people development as a specific criterion in management performance assessments.
  • Ensure senior management is also accountable for acting as responsible role models for developing staff talent.
  • Break down internal silos by moving talented employees around, for example by rotations and international assignments.
  • Create formal networks to foster the relationships that promote sharing knowledge across divisions/business units.
  • Give line managers the opportunity to spend time specifically on people development. Provide line managers with appropriate people management training.


 
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