How To Attract and Retain Top Talent

While speaking with an executive this morning, we got to the discussion of retaining and managing talent and how difficult that is. It has made me ponder what constitutes an effective framework for managing and assessing talent, both in the hiring process and in job performance. This is one of the key initiatives that most organizations don't do well. There are two components to managing talent successfully: understanding self-interest (what makes them tick); and implementing an effective hiring and management process.

Firstly, let's talk about understanding what is most important to the candidate or staff member. Most studies cite these as the keys to having a satisfied workforce:

  • Their boss – if people don't like working for their boss, it will be difficult to maximize their performance
  • Respect – feeling like their ideas are being heard
  • A comfortable work environment and culture
  • Co-workers
  • Intangible benefits
  • Money

Notice how money was the last one. Now that we have a cursory understanding of what makes people satisfied at work, here are five things you can do to accelerate the hiring and retaining of top talent:

  1. Develop a hiring process that maximizes the number of quality candidates – This means understanding what you want your culture to be, what kind of people will fit into that culture and what their accountabilities will be in their roles. Then only hire people that will fit into that culture.
  2. Know your hiring and recruiting priorities – This directly relates to #1. Recruit top people for the most important positions in the organization and hire other positions in the organization through an application and interview process. Recruiting means that you target specific individuals for those key roles. Establishing hiring priorities will help you focus on those key roles.
  3. Develop a conflict resolution process – When a dispute arises with one of your employees, you need to have a process by which that dispute can be resolved quickly. This means determining who gets involved and when.
  4. Document all responsibilities and accountabilities for each position – This sets expectations for performance so employees know what they are accountable for and how they are going to be measured.
  5. Find new ways to break through old politics – Every organization has its share of politics, but this should never be a hindrance to improving the peformance of the organization. Shake up the reporting relationships, bring in new recruits and try new ideas to break down the old barriers to success.

As you may have noticed, I have not addressed talent evaluation in this particular post and we will leave that for another day. Let's start with identifying ways to ensure we hire the right people, then we can tackle how to manage their performance.


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