How to Retain Top Talent
We are at a watershed moment when it comes to how people wish to experience work. I speak to C-Suite execs, mid-level employees and HR professionals in any given week, and the disconnect between the three is jarring. What people are looking for in an ideal employer, and the value they place on what work gives them, has shifted. I am fascinated to see investment banks continue to hike the salaries of first-year bankers to compensate for punishing working hours and lack of flexibility. Are they listening to their top talent regarding how they wish to be rewarded? Or are senior management making a judgement call based on their own value-sets?
My ultimate intellectual crush, Esther Perel, nails the revolution that is taking place in our relationship with work. Our expectations are unprecedented. As Perel puts it, “we look to work today for belonging, for identity, growth, passion, self-development, for purpose, for meaning, and for community.” This is something an entire village used to provide! This change has a lot to do with secularisation and the rise of the individual. The (new) bottom line? Leaders who treat employees as whole people – not just workers – can create workplaces that actually work. Move over IQ and EQ… Relational Intelligence (RI) may be the new main event.
TOOL: HOW TO RETAIN TOP TALENT
In a hot labour market – and when top talent is more mobile than ever – we need to ensure that employees feel heard and valued. Managers should include employees in decision-making, emphasise openness to feedback, foster a sense of purpose, and value their growth.
Schedule regular meetings with your direct reports and, instead of only talking about the tasks at hand, ask:
- What is your definition of success at work? How can we work together to make that a reality?
- What makes working here hard? Where can we do better?
- Fast forward one year; how would you like to have grown and evolved at this company?
- What can you see from your seat that I am missing from mine?
If your automatic reaction is, “nice idea, but I don’t have the time”, consider the man-hours involved in recruiting, onboarding, and training up a decent replacement!