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Attracting and Retaining Top Talent

This is the fifth article in a series of cross posts from TMS Online, Talent Management Solutions’ web based repository of HR and talent management related tools and resources for the small to mid-market organization.  These writings are intended for a business audience, but the content relates well to endurance multisport as well.  Follow this link for more information about TMS Online and Talent Management Solutions. 

Not all talent is created equal.  Looking at your current team, can you recognize the few that bring the most to your business?  Here’s a hint.  It’s not always the highest paid people that it would hurt the most to lose.  Top talent has special knowledge and capabilities that add to your organization in a way that would be a hardship to replace.

 Think about talent strategically.  Knowing who you are and where you’re headed without knowing the type of people to take you there is a formula for missed targets and malaise.  Just as you identify the strategic goals for your business, you need to specify your people strategy.  Start with developing a clear differentiating description of what top talent means to your organization and your business is on its way toward becoming an Employer of Choice and avoiding the most Damaging Hiring Mistakes.  

 Retain and gain.  Some turnover is normal and healthy, but you don’t want to see your top talent cycling out of the business as fast as you can attract new entrants.  There’s something amiss if you see that happening, so you’d best find and fix that leak as quickly as possible.  The more desirable situation is to retain the very best as those less ideally suited for your company filter out. 

 Today’s workplace environment is harsh.  Employees must now work harder, doing not only their jobs, but often the jobs of their former co-workers who were “right-sized.”  In return, job security is extinct, promotions are scarce, salary increases are modest at best, and the constant uncertainty of change is almost guaranteed.  Is it any wonder that loyalty to an employer is a nearly extinct sentiment?   

 Building loyalty in your top talent.  Retention strategies are numerous and frequently focus on bonuses and other compensation.  This approach is misguided.  How so?  Unless you coaxed your talent on board with sub-market pay and rich, unfulfilled promises of upward adjustments, they rarely leave for purely monetary reasons.  Yes, you need to be in the ballpark when setting and adjusting compensation through time.  Outside of that, a retention bonus or last moment please-don’t-leave raise is a short term band aid that disguises the true reason for your top talent’s dissatisfaction.

 Engaged talent stays.  Top talent thrives when challenged just past their current capability in areas that interest them most.  If your business follows a structured, thorough recruiting process, you can ensure this match is made at the time of hire.  Keeping top talent engaged in your business means balancing their challenge sweet spot as time goes by using a wide array of performance management and coaching tools. 

Are you hiring and keeping the best players for your business?  TMS can help you upgrade your talent pool to improve your business’ performance.

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2 comments to Attracting and Retaining Top Talent

  • One of the issues is that because employment is so thoroughly “at will”, GenX & Y workers must follow the money because they know that at some point later they will be without work for an extended time. They also have a much lower faith in a government safety net (for themselves, at least). If you understand that should you get cancer you’ll get fired and left trying to make ends meet yourself, you feel a great pressure to find whatever pays more.

  • As for those Gen X and Y’ers that have adequate time horizon to think several years into the future, then yes, making enough money to live comfortably and still save for trouble will be an important variable.

    However, the concept of Total Rewards is important to remember. Total Rewards considers other aspects of employment that X’ers and Y’ers tend to value, such as reasonable health coverage, flextime, ability to work from home, 401k’s (or similar), culture of the company, educational support/reimbursement, and developmental opportunities. I have heard this message by MANY Gen X and Y candidates and even seen offers be turned down due to non-salary reasons, so this isn’t just hypothetical HR rhetoric. Gen Y’ers especially have expectations around development opportunities and educational reimbursement.

    Then, of course, what happens and evolves from current government health care initiatives will affect the texture of the employer benefits landscape. Looks like a government option of some sort will be offered, which may result in more and more employers relying on that and investing those resources back into the company (preferably back into salaries or other total reward benefits). But we shall see…

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