Transformation Solutions Blog

Five Ways to Hold onto Key Talent

February 6th, 2014

Times certainly have changed.  Now is when you need a solid talent foundation the most.  Every decision your company makes regarding people should be based on a view to the future and how to ensure your company not only survives as the economy recovers, but has the right people in place to move the company in this new world.

Now is the time to build business “agility.”  Agility is the ability to consistently succeed by responding to the changing environment more quickly and effectively than competitors.  Agility is today’s only remaining source of competitive advantage.  Agility requires companies to have solid employee engagement, alignment, and mobility through rapid skills development.

At this point some may be saying, “I’m not all that worried about losing key talent.  After all where would they go?”  Don’t fall into the trap of believing that not many companies are hiring.  Talented individuals will always be in demand; and the fight to acquire and keep them will become more intense.  So what five steps you should be taking to ensure you do not lose the very people your organization depends on?

  1. Know Where your Pivotal Roles are. Pivotal roles are those positions in the organization that drive the greatest level of value – both today and in the future. This is not simply a matter of drawing a line on the organizational chart and saying that everyone above a certain level is Pivotal. Pivotal roles could exist at any level in the organization and their effective identification is critical.
  2. Make sure you know who your key talent is. This involves talent differentiation, or identifying the people in the organization who you can always depend on in a crunch. They would include your high performers and high potentials.
  3. Understand who your Intellectual Property Owners are.      Intellectual Property owners are those individuals who possess vital, undocumented knowledge of the organization, its key processes, customers, etc.  Your primary focus should be ensuring you capture the knowledge they possess to mitigate the risk of IP loss.
  4. Develop a people strategy. What people do you need now and in the future?    What skills and capabilities should they possess? How do your current      pivotal role incumbents stack up against these needs? How will critical skills be developed? How can we raise the bar on management’s ability to develop employee skill and mobility? How can you make better use of contingent workers? A good talent plan must be accurate, dynamic and  integrated with business planning.
  5. Target your rewards. Once you have identified pivotal roles, key talent and intellectual property owners, you need to make sure that your total rewards strategy is focused on engagement and retention of this group. Now is not the time to feel compelled to give cost of living adjustments and treat everyone equally.

We know both time and money are at a premium.  If you had only one dollar to spend on development, where would you spend it?  If you should need to downsize, what roles can you afford not to do without?  Are you letting go of someone who possesses undocumented organizational knowledge?  In order to survive and thrive in these challenging economic times a solid talent strategy is not a luxury, it is a necessity.