by Luz Co-Laguitao
In the midst of a slow economy and a take-no-prisoners stock market, attracting, recruiting, hiring, retaining and engaging top talent can make or break any organization. Today’s leaders must manage the scarce commodity called "talent" to sustain their competitive edge. Brainpower remains a key differentiator in today’s supply and demand market of knowledge workers. The organizations with the best talent win the race.
Talent Management is the process of developing and integrating new workers, developing and retaining current workers, and attracting highly skilled workers to work for a company. Coined by David Watkins of Softscape in 1988, talent management is synonymous to attracting and retaining “value-adding and profitable” employees; and competition to acquire and retain them has come to be known as the war for talent.
Talent management continues to be adopted, as more companies come to realize that their employees’ talents and skills drive their business success.
But just how do we attract the best talents? Invariably, it may be to offer and give a highly lucrative compensation package or be an Employer of Choice (EOC) that will challenge and motivate talents to work under healthy pressures in a prestigious and well-respected organization. Working for an EOC, these talents will deliberate and expect to be provided with the right answers to questions, such as:
• Where is the organization going?
• How are we going there?
• How can I help to get us there?
• What do I get when we reach our destination?
Some telling trends in the Talent situation are:
• Labor shortage in some areas, excess in others
• Acceleration in technology, product cycles and markets
• Slow change in employee capabilities
• Slow flow of talents to where they are most needed
• Employee costs continue to accelerate
• Difficulty in keeping the good ones and firing undesirables
Talk about Talent Retention, note that some key factors why good talents stay are:
• Job challenge
• Exciting work
• Career growth
• Learning and development
• A great boss
• Working with great people
Surprisingly at a lower priority, fair pay comes in.
Nevertheless, we know that one great factor why talents are attracted is due to immorally high pay and alluring variable benefits. Here are some tips in retaining talents:
Compensate fairly. Money is not the only reason people stay; nevertheless, it plays a significant role in job satisfaction. Offer your employees a competitive salary and honor their service and tenure with raises, perks and other monetary rewards. Fair pay shows that you respect them. A good benefit package can induce employees to stay committed to your business.
Be open to their ideas. In a high-performance workplace, some of the best ideas come from the employees themselves. Ensure open lines of communication. Good leaders listen to their employees and treat them as a valuable team.
Treat people as equals. If you really want employees to feel a sense of loyalty and commitment, treat them as partners, not hired hands. Give your employees a sense of ownership and keep them engaged.
Provide growth opportunities. Half of an employee’s skill set becomes outdated in about two years, so make sure you provide your staff with opportunities for personal and professional growth. Allow your employees to take classes and attend professional development seminars. Challenge them with new responsibilities that may help them acquire new skills.
Say "Thank you". It is a simple yet effective way to show employees that they are valued and appreciated.
Make time. Make an effort to spend one-on-one time with individual employees. Take them to lunch. Show each person that you are personally committed to keeping and growing his talent. Look into other positions the employee may be interested in as his career develops.
Be flexible. It is important to help each employee achieve a balance between their work life and personal life. Allow them to attend their children’s activities or attend to sick relatives, when necessary.
Encourage creativity. Employees need to enjoy the work they do. Provide a creative and challenging work environment. If you micro-manage and stifle creativity, do not expect to retain good people.
Keep them healthy and happy. Encourage good health and wellness of body, mind and spirit. You can be creative. Bring in a yoga instructor for morning meditation, or give gift certificates for spa or massages. Allow for restful breaks. Learn about your employee’s outside interests. Feed their minds with books, magazine subscriptions or even offer them concert or theater tickets.
Lead with the heart. Win your employees over. Excellence is impossible without their affection and respect. Share a compelling vision with them, pay attention to work-life balance or simply provide a positive, uplifting work environment. Find ways to their hearts. The positive word-of-mouth about your company’s culture will go a long way in both retaining good workers and attracting new ones.
This chart communicates the fact that talent management is no small deal nor it is a simple intervention. It is a feat for People or Line Managers to successfully drive this effective vehicle when they can put in place mechanisms to manage and retain the right mix of talents to achieve organizational objectives.
A Talent Management System though must be worked into the business strategy and implemented in daily processes throughout the organization as a whole. It cannot be left solely to the Human Resources Department to attract and retain employees; it must be driven at all levels of the organization. The business strategy must include responsibilities for line managers to develop the skills of their immediate subordinates.
Talent Management is also referred to Human Capital Management. This connotes that companies must be strategic and deliberate in how they source, attract, select, train, develop, retain, promote, and move employees. However, it also seeks to focus on an employee’s potential, meaning an employee’s future performance, if given the proper development of skills and increased responsibility.
Indeed, there is a war for talent though many companies felt the need to cut expenses. On the contrary, this should be the ideal environment to execute a Talent Management System as a means of optimizing the performance of each employee and the organization.
The writer is Luz Co-Laguitao, FPM, and a member of Accreditation Council of the Society of Fellows and the People Management Association of the Philippines.