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Retain Your Top Talent, Don't Hand Them to Competitors

CEOs worry about losing talent. Attracting and retaining top talent is the biggest internal concern for CEOs around the world and it should be. Quanical research for It's the Manager shows that hope for career growth opportunities is the "No. 1 reason people change jobs today."

Our research shows that one of the most effective means of keeping talent is to develop it your most talented employees are the quickest to leave if they can't learn and grow in their roles. But development isn't a program, it's a culture.

Those cultures can be constructed. In fact, we've found companies with cultures of high development share four common traits:

1. High development cultures are CEO and board initiated.

Culture depends on a functioning purpose that executives originate, and employees understand. Development is a support structure of that purpose that's how development gets funding along with sustained attention from leaders and commitment from employees.

2. High development cultures educate managers on new ways of managing.

Great teams are built around great managers. The best managers have learned that the most effective means of managing and developing individuals is through engagement, not a command and control approach.

3. High development cultures practice companywide communication.

Our research shows that exceptional CHROs build systems that teach managers how to develop employees' strengths in line with company goals. In fact, they create a "champions network" that communicates, collects best practices and answers development questions.

4. High development cultures hold managers accountable.

The most highly engaged companies see recognition as a means of developing and stretching employees, and they judge managers for their ability to engage workers.

The first, best means of constructing a high development culture is a focus on strengths. Each employee's profile is a roadmap of potential people get better faster doing what they're already good at that directs managers toward workers' areas of excellence. And people who know and use their strengths are more engaged and perform better as well.

Those attributes improve the success rate of every subsequent development strategy leaders implement.

Think like a mid level employee.

To construct a culture of high development, start at the very top with the purpose your executives define and operationalize. Their attitudes, beliefs and behaviors about purpose will cascade what they believe, everyone will come to believe. Engineer a communication network that carries those values into the lived experiences of workers. Draft a plan that shepherds employees' development, with an eye toward their strengths, throughout their entire career. And, above all else, teach managers how to engage workers. Half of all workers have left a job to get away from a manager at least once.

As you construct this high development culture, give some thought to a star employee who is halfway down the org chart, where your leadership pipeline begins.

Do your most talented employees know the purpose of your company? Do they know what their next steps are? Do their managers acknowledge their excellent work and look for ways to leverage their strengths and stretch their capacity? Are they part of a network of people who champion development? Are they engaged? Are they bored?

If you don't know how your mid-level star would answer. If you know but don't like his answers, change his mind. It can be done. Indeed, it has to be done and the sooner the better to keep the best workers on your payroll. We believe most talented employees probably have high expectations of their workplaces and if they aren't engaged, if they aren't growing and developing, if their strengths aren't appreciated and their contributions not rewarded enough there's always someplace else to go.

Be the place stars go to. Define your purpose, educate your managers and hold them accountable. Communicate your commitment to development. Construct a culture of high development and you can stop worrying about losing your talent and start being the company other CEOs worry about.

A high-development culture starts with the manager here's where the manager can start:

  • Learn how to build a high-development culture through your employee engagement strategy.

  • Build an organizational culture for better performance.

  • Develop effective leadership qualities and learn more about the traits that make high-development cultures in the bestselling book, It's the Manager.

Tips for Attracting Top Talents to Your Company

In the modern digital age, talent acquisition has become a highly competitive exercise.

It wasn’t long ago when HR Managers used the services of recruitment agencies to hire candidates. But the game of luring top talents is completely transformed today. Using traditional techniques might leave companies struggling to fill vacant positions because most suitable candidates are looking beyond generic job boards.

The increasing technological climate with evolving digital disruption requires organizations to utilize an advanced approach for an effective hiring process.

Leveraging Existing Employees’ Experiences

Employee advocacy is very crucial for branding, marketing, and advertising. The same logic goes to recruitment efforts as well. Being one of the greatest assets of any organization, employees can be a powerful force for attracting the right talents. They humanize the brand all while extending the reach of job openings.

Anything employers say about their brands might be received with a perception of bias from candidates. Employees, on the other hand, are less likely to have that perceived pitch. So it’s pertinent for recruiters to find ways to effectively empower their current employees so that they can share their unfiltered experience.

Today’s digital age is marked by the unprecedented rise of the social media landscape that has opened up a world of advocacy opportunities. To effectively leverage the experiences of employees, the HR department can play an important role in tying strings for systematic engagement.


Jennifer Robison is a Senior Editor at Gallup.

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