I often get asked questions about my experiences working for and with various companies throughout my career, and I was recently asked about the most common mistake I have seen different companies make.
It didn't take long to answer the question — talent management, a company's ability to effectively recognize, develop and retain individuals who have a high likelihood of growing within their organization and becoming valuable contributors.
For some strange reason, most companies I am familiar with struggle with this concept.
When you analyze the impact talent management has on a company's long term success, it's eye opening. In a survey conducted by Price Waterhouse Cooper, “Delivering Results: Growth and Value in a Volatile World,” published on recruiter.com in March, nearly half of U.S. CEOs see the lack of availability of qualified talent as a threat to growth.
That's downright scary.
Highly skilled and talented employees are needed in order for a company to effectively compete in today's highly competitive marketplace. Regardless of what a company makes or sells, the people are what determine success or failure.
Unfortunately, finding the right people is only half the battle. According to the U.S. Labor Dept., the average employee stays with their current employer for 4.4 years. That's not very long. Companies that refuse to recognize this alarming statistic find themselves bleeding talent. They lose people for various reasons and it's often related to how the employee views long-term career opportunities and growth at the company.
Here's the reality: If someone is good, they will get recruited.
Anyone who is involved in managing people will tell you how difficult and expensive it is to recruit and retain employees. Hiring is not cheap and the true costs of losing a high performer are difficult to calculate. There are hiring and training costs, not to mention the lost productivity when someone experienced leaves and someone new takes their place.
Here are a few suggestions on ways companies can develop a culture that identifies and develops top performers.
Identify the best
Many companies categorize people into an A, B or C ranking. The A players are referred to as most valuable, while C players are managed out. The most important step is to have a process where the top talent within your organization is identified and known to those who are involved in making hiring decisions. It's not difficult to identify who you consider to be the top 5 percent of people within your company.
Develop career paths
Most companies don't have a formal career pathing process.
As an example, if a sales professional has aspirations to move into a sales management role, he or she should know exactly what is needed to be done in order to be considered for a promotion. The timelines should be clear, and the company should have a professional development plan in place to help prepare people for future roles.
That helps create a “bench” of potential candidates to help fill a vacant role.
Understand your people
When was the last time you asked the top performers in your company where they see themselves in five years?
Do you know what their career goals are? Have you provided feedback to help guide those who are unsure? Or are you expecting them to stay in the same job forever?
If you think people will continue to be happy in the same role for a long period of time, you better wake up. Most people want to develop and do more.
If you don't take the time to understand that, you are missing something very important.
If you don't take the time to understand what career path people want to take and help them get there, someone else will.
Thompson (email@example.com) writes Closing the Deal weekly for the New Hampshire Sunday News.