War for Talent V2.0: Clear and present danger

We know people make a difference to organisations – that is a given.  But those classed as “talent” or “high-potentials” – defined as individuals who not only display consistent high performance, but who are fully engaged with the goals of the business and show potential for development – make the greatest difference of all.  

So why is it that many such talented individuals choose to leave their employer – and why is often such a surprise to their bosses?

In many studies – especially into the Gen Y/Z and millennial cohorts – the main reason given is lack of development and opportunity to grow. Interestingly it is not lack of promotion or basics such as salary or package that are the defining factor. These elements do often come up at exit, but they are not the critical drivers of departure for this group. Alongside this, a new and emerging post-Covid trend is emerging amongst baby boomers. These individuals are often seen as the font of knowledge and experience in any organisation. Typically, they sit in more senior leadership or expert roles and to date have been viewed as ‘stable ‘and ‘predictable’ – crucially allowing plans to be made around their departure to minimise risk and plan succession. However, early indicators are suggesting that following the pandemic, this group is reflecting on their goals and deciding to retire early – to enjoy the fruits of their labour before it is too late. Combine this with the Gen Y/Z flight risk which typically sits one or two levels below the senior team, and there are serious storm clouds on the horizon that all point to a significant people challenge brewing over the coming months.

If that weren’t concerning enough, as we come out of the turbulence and uncertainty of the last 15 months, all indicators are suggesting the job market is heating up. Add all of this together, and many employers who rely on achieving success via talented people face a clear and present danger

So, what can a leader do to mitigate the risk of losing their top or up-and-coming talent, creating gaping holes in any succession plan, and putting organisational stability and performance at risk?  

The priority here is to answer a few simple questions, quickly, to understand where the danger lies:

  1. Is my team ‘match fit’, are we the right size and shape for the challenges and opportunities we face?
  2. My whole world has been tipped upside down – how do I know what I need, where are my gaps/risks?
  3. Are my best people engaged and with me? Do I even know? If not, why not? What do I need to do?
  4. What development solutions are right and appropriate at this moment?
  5. Will the best talent want to join me?
  6. I need to sort these challenges not just for now but for the longer term, how do I do it?

By answering these questions early and upfront – and by bringing together all the necessary data and facts – your decisions will be fully informed. By taking these steps not only will your thinking and subsequent actions be well thought through and evidenced, but you will also reduce your personal and business uncertainty whilst mitigating the risk of failure.

To find out more about the kinds of services Norman Broadbent offer to navigate these turbulent times, contact Tim Drake at Tim.Drake@normanbroadbent.com