Leadership Solutions from Read Solutions Group: Retaining Young Talent

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Retaining Young Talent

If you have time, listen to an HBR interview of Chris Resto, co-author of the book, Recruit or Die: How Any Business Can Beat the Big Guys in the War for Young Talent. Whether managing young talent or considering how to retain in a challenging market like China, this book (and podcast) give some great recommendations.

Meaningful Work: One key to retention is to have people feel that from the first day of work, they are engaged in meaningful work. What is meaningful work? Work that is clearly aligned with the mission of the company. They need to know how and why their contributions contribute to the company. The manager has the foremost role in this education, yet it gains the most power when reinforced by as many people and as many systems as possible in the organization.

Mentors: This book recommends that most people, particularly newer in the workforce, want to feel nurtured. The manager needs to step out of a management role and engage with the employee as a mentor. Equally as strong is appointing a senior leader to engage as a mentor with each new employee. It's this leader's role to help the employee look at where they are going next? While the manager coaches, manages and mentors for today, the senior leader helps the employee look beyond to tomorrow. Nurtured and supported for the future.

Network: Encourage and support your new employees in meeting people broadly throughout the organization. The employee builds social ties, and deepens their understanding of how the people and structures interrelate in the organization.

Develop: What have you done for me today? The employee of today is looking for constant development. The manager and organization that provide the employee with opportunities to strengthen their skills and resume on a frequent basis will win in the war for talent. Resto recommends having discussions with employees that highlight how the work they have done and are doing is strengthening their careers and resume. If you, the manager can't see it, the employee certainly won't.

Do I feel motivated by my work? Am I supported by my manager and the senior leadership? Am I part of a team? Is my career being advanced? If the new talent in your organization can answer "yes" to all of these questions, you are well on your way to tackling the retention problems.

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At 9:33 PM, Blogger Chris Young, The Rainmaker Group, Inc. said...

I couldn't agree more, Sherry! It is absolutely critical that people find meaning in their work and have the environment to grow and feel appreciated.

My overall concern, however, is that this "approach" works best when you have the right people doing the right things in the organization in the first place. Perhaps that is the assumption here - the right people are in the right "seat".

From a Talent Management perspective - the strengths of team members must matched closely with the needs of the job.

Without this match, nothing else matters. One can have someone who isn't detail-oriented doing a job that requires heavy detail-orientation and because they are making mistakes, there will be natural stress. Furthermore, perhaps the boss will be addressing that individual. The individual may then feel like they are being "picked on". The result turns into employee disengagement.

We see a lot of employees in the wrong "seats" that become bitter and angry and the result is employee turnover. However, as we have all seen... Disgruntled employees have a tendency to take others "down" with them.

Outstanding article! I can't wait to see more!

Chris Young
Founder and Daymaker
The Rainmaker Group, Inc.


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