Winning the talent war – how to keep hold of your people

21 September 2021 / Insight posted in Business Doctor insights

As the economy bounces back, you may be looking to expand and hire new staff. But beware. Not looking at what your existing people want, and need could land you with a bigger problem. If your talent starts to leave, more and more usually follows.

Your priority should be to sort out your existing team. Make sure they’re engaged, enthused, and want to do their best for you. Only once you’re there should you start hiring. But how do you achieve that?

Take a joined-up approach

To get the best from your people and your business, you’ll need a broad and joined-up people strategy that looks at all aspects of your workforce. It should cover everything from attracting the right talent through training and development, all the way to exits and beyond. And it needs to be tied to and work with your business strategy.

Find out what your people want

Your workforce is made up of individuals with unique motivations and needs. But lots of businesses don’t attempt to understand their people before introducing new initiatives and policies. Take the time to find out what your people value. Is it salary, bonuses, benefits, flexibility, or career development? Is it something else entirely? By getting a clear picture of what will make a real difference to your people, you can start prioritising, budgeting, and planning for the greatest impact.

Keep listening and evolve

Your people won’t stay the same. Their priorities change, new and different people join. What worked just a year ago may now be prompting your people to look elsewhere. So, it’s down to you to talk to your people regularly. Whether that’s polls, engagement surveys, or just spending time with them, when your people give you their thoughts and opinions, don’t let the conversation end there. Tell them what you can and can’t do, what your plans are and what it means for them.

Grow your own

Training your people and promoting them through the ranks is the most logical approach to securing the talent you need. But it takes time and planning. It means you don’t need to hire on skills and experience but can focus instead on attitude and enthusiasm. Then you focus on training and identifying management potential. It’s an approach that puts you in greater control – you have your own talent pipeline – but you need to take a long-term approach.

Supporting and training managers

If you’ve got people leaving, there’s a chance it’s got something to do with their manager. Which could mean you’ve got some broader issues to consider. How have those managers been trained if you’ve promoted from within the company to fill manager-level roles? What have you done to make sure they’re going to be good leaders? Your career development and training processes need to be effective to ensure that you’re offering the proper support to the right people at the right stages in their careers.

Get help

Even for established people teams, it’s quite easy to be so close and involved in the day-to-day life of a business that they don’t see what’s going on. One thing that works well time and again with our clients is our Talent 360. We spend an agreed amount of time talking to the senior leadership team about their business and people strategy. Then we use a range of techniques to review and assess their people practices and to find out what their people think and want. With that information, we help them to act, to realise their aspirations in alignment with their people and business strategy.

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