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Retaining the Talent

Posted by: Matt

How do you retain your good people and what can you do to get it right?

I could start out saying it’s about culture, which obviously it is – but then all the good oil about managing your people comes back to culture, oh and of course communication.  Let’s look at this from a slightly more practical angle, of what you do in the short term, while you’re busy working on the culture, which can take a few years and multiple strategies.

How to keep those you want to keep, how to let those go who perhaps would benefit from another organisation and how to work through retirement where the business knowledge is leaving with the individual.

There are 4 distinct categories:

  • The Talent
  • The Everyday great people
  • The Non-performers
  • The Retirees

They each have distinct requirements and different approaches needed from the business leaders to manage, motivate and engage them.

The Talent

Do you know who they are?  Did you do something to find out or did they tell you themselves?

Talent in the world of work has many definitions, but I think this one sums it up:

Those individuals who can make a difference to organisational performance”  (Google)

The people who will help the organisation succeed. They are often the people who are coming up with the great ideas, the ones that the customers rate highly, the ones that demonstrate leadership skills, who people want on their teams or projects.  They are also the people who are very attractive to your competitors – they have options.

A relatively simple Talent Identification activity is very effective in determining and discovering who these people are in your business.  A facilitated workshop that promotes open discussion between managers can achieve this.  This helps with deciding where the effort should go in development and recognition.  Then put the effort into developing them, offering them opportunities and recognising them when they have succeeded.  The Talent Hive can help with ideas for development of people at various stages, to keep them engaged and not looking outside the business for opportunities.

The Everyday Great People

These are the ones who are often overlooked.  They are the people who deal with the business as usual, they get stuff done, they don’t cause the organisation or their managers any grief.  They come in and do their job.  Generally pretty happy with their lot, they don’t have a great drive or desire to make their way up the career or corporate ladder.  These people are often the lifeblood of an organisation.  Sometimes they don’t want to be noticed or singled out for doing something well (deep down they probably do) but ignore them at your peril.  The good regular performers are also very attractive to the market.  Make sure you talk to them, keep a dialogue going, understand them and recognise them, just maybe discretely if that’s what they want.

The Non-performers

Oh yes, these people.  They bring everyone else down.  If you have some in your team and you are not addressing the issues, then you risk losing your good people.  Your competitors are not interested in the non-performers.  Along with not doing the job you need them to be doing, they are also probably distracting or disrupting others, when they are at work, because they may also be your high users of sick leave.  The interesting thing when you actually address this situation, is they already know that they are not performing, they have been hoping no-one will notice.

There are two options:  help them improve or to help them find the best role for their skills and abilities, which may be outside your organisation.  It is very bad practice to move poor performers around an organisation, it doesn’t solve the problem, well it does for one manager, but it creates a problem for another and makes you unpopular.  Take up the challenge, be courageous and sort the non-performers out, for everyone’s sake!

The Retirees

This group is awesome.  They have heaps of skills, loads of institutional knowledge and are often very loyal, having been with an organisation for many years of their working life.  There is no retirement age in NZ, but for the purposes of this article, we’ll say 65, which is when you have access to the Government Superannuation Fund.  While they are approaching retirement, say from 60 – 63 onwards, it’s a good idea to offer access to some support and start them thinking about the next stage in their life.  Some people fear what it will mean for them, how will they fill their days, will they miss their workmates?  When people retire, they often grieve the loss of the everyday routine.

Sometimes a graduated retirement is the best thing.  Dropping back to a 3-day work week for a year or two can help them to start finding ways to fill in the newly available hours. It may free up some budget to bring in a junior as well. Check out this article The Grandparent in the Corner Office.  Also utilise these great resources to transfer knowledge, upskill others, time spent as a mentor can make the last couple of years very fulfilling.

If you have a people management challenge going on within your business, you may not have all the tools in your own toolkit.  If you would like some help with talent identification, recognition and reward, managing poor performers or helping people with graduated retirement programmes, then get in touch – it’s what we do here at The Talent Hive.

Wendy McArthur is the Principal Consultant – People and Culture at The Talent Hive, she offers a pragmatic and practical approach, builds lasting relationships and works with clients to provide tailored business solutions across organisation, people and culture.  She spends her quality non work time with friends and family and is currently extending the grey matter and learning French.

At The Talent Hive we specialise in connecting Engineering, IT and HR professionals with the right career opportunities. We also offer a variety of business solutions around people capability from talent identification, performance and objective setting to remuneration and reward systems and advice. Start the journey, connect with The Talent Hive today.

Categorised as: Career Development, High Performance Teams, HR Consulting