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Retaining Talent

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The pressure to retain talent is increasing. In the current buoyant market, the power has shifted from the employer to the individual.

Thanks to sites like Linkedin, it is easier than ever for attractive employees to be contacted and poached – even when they aren’t actively looking for a new role. You may have experienced this yourself, receiving emails with promises of exciting opportunities.

Some turnover following the recession is inevitable: given the stagnation in the job market, when natural movement was inhibited, it is to be expected that this has increased now that there is a more optimistic outlook.

But how do organisations keep their top talent? While pay rises and bonuses are an important factor, research suggests that money is not the biggest motivator, except for a few select groups – though lack of money certainly is a de-motivator. In our experience, one of the main reasons talent leave is to gain development opportunities that build their careers and enhance their CVs which aren’t available in their current role.

But ‘development’ doesn’t necessarily have to be a vertical promotion: lateral skills development is just as important for three main reasons:It helps to build an environment where people feel they are invested in and listened to – even though they may not be ready for a promotion or one may not be available.

It helps individuals to think more holistically about their current role for example taking a secondment to another team means they are literally stepping into their stakeholder’s shoes to see a problem or solution from their point of view.

It enables you to support your talent so that when a vertical opportunity does arise, you’re more likely to have a successor ready and eager to move into the role.

Critical success factors in this are:

  • Supporting your talent to drive their own development – many employees want to take their career development into their own hands. It starts with a simple question: ‘where do you see your career going and how can we help you to get there?’
  • Identifying what lateral skills development opportunities may be available: there are many ways this could be done including secondments, project sharing and mentoring others
  • Checking-in with your line managers to ensure they are supported in their role: do they have regular development conversations with their team?

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