We’ve got 99 problems but “Talent” ain’t one!
Performance I Create is a talented crew, so who better to give advice and insight on this thing we call “talent”? When I think about this overused word; I think, “How did we get here?” Well…
Laborer, Worker, Employee, Associate, Representative, Internal Customers, Human Capital, Workforce, Business Partners, People and now Talent; all terms for used to describe employees. As we attempt to get closer to our employees we’ve changed the name to make it more “intimate”. And who doesn’t love intimacy?
So, the words have changed? Has anything else changed? Depending on whom you ask the answer is a resounding “yes”. Talent management is about relationship management. See talent, as it turns out, is much like the cutie pie in business school, it wants to be courted, wined, dined, flattered and swept off their feet. Today, good talent management is really about relationship management. Recruiting is more about building relationships with talent communities and job seekers. Retention is about maintaining and sustaining relationships with incumbent employees. The key to winning customers is building a strong, trustworthy brand which forms loyal relationships with consumers.
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But the “courting” does not stop there. Once you get it, you got to keep it and to keep it, you have to make it happy or talent will find someone new.
Here’s what I know and can tell you about talent. I have countless resume clients who have accepted jobs only to quit them and take on new jobs because of a failure during the hiring processes. Either the offer was a little low, or something was said that bothered them, or they saw something during the onboarding process and sometimes it’s just that another company came along with a better offer – you know the whole “it’s not you, it’s me thing?”
Remember when you went on your first date with someone you really liked? Remember how nervous you were? Remember the excitement? You wanted to do everything right to make sure you didn’t lose that gorgeous hunk or beautiful lady. Well acquiring talented employees is a similar process. Both sides present their best selves in order to make a great first impression. Then once the deal has been made both sides are totally into each other for a while but eventually, one side starts taking more than they give and not showing appreciation.
Talent starts to wonder if they are still attractive and if others find them equally as talented (if not more) and so they start to have a wondering eye. They shop around for something better. The company is no better; in fact they can be worse. When the company decides it needs to move on and find new relationships, there is no shortage of extrication strategies from the good ole “you’re fired”, to the “we have decided to part ways” or the “let’s discuss a buy-out” and of course “we have to cut staff.” In relationship speak “this isn’t working out”, “I’m not happy”, or “There is someone else.”
So how do you keep talent or manage them as most folks say today? Well, it’s strange, once again, similar to a real relationship, the things you do to attract your partners, you must do to keep them. You have to keep them involved and excited by asking for their opinions and using their input. You have to show them the direction that you intend to take. You have to reassure them they’re wanted and needed in order to make in this cold, cold world. You have to make sure you take care of their basic human needs and show compassion.
Treating talent like disposable, interchangeable commodities won’t work because the word will get out (either social media or old school word of mouth) and your reputation will be ruined (all the pretty boys and girls won’t want to be with you).
So if you are having talent problems think about the relationships you have built and how you can improve them.
Good luck player!