Finding and retaining the right talent is a perennial struggle, and with unemployment at record lows, the job market is booming for the most sought-after individuals. Workers want more than a job: They want opportunities to grow and know they are valued. This not only involves salary, benefits and a growth plan, but also care for their emotional and financial well-being.
A recent study from the National Center for the Middle Market looked at the value of talent planning, which ensures continuity and growth while maintaining structure throughout an organization. Among the findings:
- Talent planning includes many activities, such as succession planning, talent review, human resource planning, bench-strength analysis, staffing, development and performance management.
- Talent planning is not as prevalent as one might expect, with fewer than half of middle market firms currently implementing critical talent planning strategies.
- Companies with superior talent planning achieve superior overall business performance.
Examine turnover rates to understand patterns
Develop robust processes for performance reviews
Employees want to know what they’re doing right and where they need to improve, but they also want professional growth. Performance reviews are not something that should happen once a year. They ought to be continuous and involve regular discussions. For example, twice a year, focus on job planning and evaluation. Then, have two more discussions about career development. Following this schedule, the employee discusses his or her job and career, formally, four times a year.
Employees need support and guidance from their managers, which is why effective leadership is so important.
Develop talent pools for critical positions
Talent pools are groups of employees within an organization who are being trained and developed to assume greater responsibilities and professional growth. Organizations must always be thinking about the future. External recruiting will not always yield the talent you need. Internal pools allow companies to develop future talent from within and allow flexibility to meet their fluid operational needs.
The Recruiters Handbook suggests the following to help companies develop talent pools:
- Management coaching: Regularly coach your managers so they can help employees change behaviors and improve performance.
- Peer-to-peer feedback: For feedback to be effective, it has to come not only from managers, but from peers. Encourage employees to deliver timely, specific feedback in a positive way to each other. This culture shift can have a transformative impact and result in enterprisewide open communication.
Strategize for succession
Succession planning should be a fundamental element of your leadership development strategy. And it’s something that should be taking place across all levels of your organization. Look for people who best display the skills necessary to thrive in higher positions, regardless of their current title. While the second-in-command may seem like the obvious successor, don’t write off other promising employees.
As you identify your top performers, think about how you can help them develop new skills and refine existing ones they’ll need to move into a more senior role. Mentoring relationships, job shadowing and training all can help. Remember that good leaders not only need technical acumen but also strong interpersonal skills, including standout verbal and written communication abilities, as well as tact and diplomacy.
Allow potential successors to assume some responsibilities while business owners or C-suite executives are on vacation. This will help employees gain experience and will allow you to learn how prepared they are to take on a bigger role.
Happiness impacts productivity and growth
We often think of benefits in terms of medical, dental and 401(k). While offering competitive options in these categories is critical, offering your workforce help with their everyday finances can give them peace of mind and boost productivity.
Stress caused by an employee’s financial situation affects not only their happiness but can also negatively impact their work performance. Talk to your banker about starting a workplace financial wellness program, which provides employees with in-person, on-site financial wellness educational sessions customized to their needs. Employees report that such programs have helped them monitor their spending, pay off debt and prepare for retirement. Recently, following one of our financial wellness sessions for employees of a corporate client, we were able to help five employees start the homebuying process because they realized it required less of a down payment than they had thought.
Having a well-developed employee retention strategy is crucial to the success of your business. Doing so will keep your company staffed with quality talent, with a focus on personal achievement and collective growth.