Last week I had the opportunity to moderate a panel of Human Resource experts at a local SHRM meeting. The topic was “Maximizing Performance through Talent Management: Best Practices”. The discussion was lively and rich with great comments and suggestions. The panelists shared their best practices related to talent management approaches for attracting, developing, engaging and retaining top notch talent…the best of the best needed to get results in the new business normal.
The topic of talent retention in the new business normal was especially interesting to me. Talent retention is getting renewed attention from businesses that understand the importance of this topic and its connection to maximizing organizational performance.
Although fears about talent retention and shortages eased somewhat in the wake of the global recession, these economic conditions had the effect of instilling a false sense of security about attracting and retaining talent. The reality is that even in times of high unemployment and economic uncertainty employers still face the challenges of keeping their best performers and those with critical skills.
Not only that, but once the recovery begins to take hold, businesses are certain to begin experiencing enormous retention issues as unemployment declines and voluntary turnover rises. Organizations that have not been paying attention to their key contributors will be left holding the bag as their top talent races out of the doors and into the open arms of their competitors.
The actions businesses are taking today to address the attraction and retention of talent will separate the talent winners from the talent losers both now and especially as the economy begins to improve.
So, what are the talent winners doing to address retention issues and what should your business be doing? Here are my top suggestions for increasing the “stickiness” of your organization as it relates to talent retention:
- Develop a clear and focused retention strategy for top talent and those in critical skills positions.
- Take actions now to begin instilling high performance work environments which aid in retaining talent. These work environments offer: jobs with meaningful work; effective performance management systems and processes; fair and competitive compensation and rewards; learning, growth and promotional opportunities; and, ways to develop coworker networking relationships.
- Tend to the talent, as a constant gardener. Feed the talent roses and pull out the nonperforming weeds. Start conducting stay interviews to find out why talent stays and make use of pre-emptive strikes to address issues such as pay or growth opportunities to keep key talent.
- Managers and supervisors—I’ve saved the best for last. Managers and supervisors play the single most critical role in talent retention, and their success at cultivating productive work environments based on mutual trust is a must for talent retention. Provide them with the necessary support, tools and training they need to be successful, and hold them accountable for talent retention results.
These are just a few suggestions to get you started. Do what your business will allow for now, but get started now. Good luck.
Let me know if you have any talent retention suggestions of your own.