A Better Model for Talent Retention

In this ever improving economy, we have returned to the race for talent. More and more talented employees are getting calls from recruiters offering new and exciting opportunities. This presents challenges for both Organisations and Employees.

Organisation Challenge

Increasingly we see Organisations counter-offering employees who have handed in their notice having been successful in securing a new position, in an effort to woo their exiting talent to stay.  More often than not, however, it is a case of ‘too little, too late’.

Monetary offers are just a quick fix, will only last so long and are not a long term sustainable talent retention solution.

So what do Employees value in today’s World of Work value? Research shows that employees today recognise that learning opportunities and career development are core motivators:

66% of employees say they value learning opportunities over monetary compensation (Learnkit Workforce Survey – December 2015)

“Employees at all levels expect dynamic, self-directed, continuous learning opportunities from their employers.” (Deloitte Human Capital Trends 2016)

Yet Organisations are struggling to meet this challenge – offering outdated and static approaches to learning and career development which do not meet the needs of Employees or the Organisation in a World of Work which is changing at an unprecedented pace.

Career Development today needs to reflect this new world of work – addressing both Employee needs (Career Development) and the Organisation demands (Future Skills Development)… a career case with a business case.

Employee Challenge

When the LinkedIn message or the call comes from the recruiter it can be quite alluring. Only last month one Executive Coaching client told me she was really enjoying her work, was highly engaged and had never thought about leaving until she agreed to a cup of coffee for “just a chat” with a headhunter. Her head had been turned by the chat, her mind-set had now changed and Lucy (not her real name) was considering leaving.

We made the next Executive Coaching session a career coaching session. Lucy had been busy in her work and had not considered what she wanted in the future. She was almost expecting someone to tap her on the shoulder and offer her the next role internally. This happened in the past and she expected it again. My advice to Lucy was to be prepared and know what she wants before anyone internally or externally invites her for a cup of coffee.

I shared the Harmonics ‘My Career, My Business Model’ with Lucy (see below). It made a lot of sense to her and allowed her to work through a number of revealing exercises to gain more career clarity. The model is predicated by our belief that every employee today should own their career development and run it like a business owner. In every successful business, there are three key functions that require attention; Research & DevelopmentOperations and Sales & Marketing.

  1. Research and Development (Creating)
  2. Operations (Doing)
  3. Sales and Marketing (Communicating)

From Current to Future State

As with all businesses, you may have strength in one particular area, but neglect others. In the model above (Current State) we have highlighted where people place the majority of their time and focus.

Lucy’s focus was on working very hard and spending her time in the centre silo in Operations mode, busily doing stuff. She neglected to spend time in Research and Development mode to investigate internal opportunities she could create for herself. She also assumed her great work ethic would stand up for itself and spent little time in the Sales & Marketing function i.e. communicating and building valuable networks in the Organisation.

The fatal mistake Organisations are making is not offering their ‘at risk’ talent the opportunity to engage in proactive career development programmes. If talent know what they want and have invested internally on a journey of personal career growth, the alluring headhunter offers are much less appealing and easier to resist. In this particular case, following our career coaching intervention, Lucy knew what she wanted and politely declined the external offer.

A Proactive Talent Retention Solution

At Harmonics, we have developed a number of highly successful career development programmes specifically targetting talent retention in Organisations. Career Accelerator for High Potentials; Career Accelerator for Female Talent seeking to target Executive Roles; Career Best Programme which offer Managers open workshops and one to one career coaching; and our 24/7 access online Career Development Portal with remote career coaching which offers thousands of resources for all employees to self-direct their future career development.


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