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Retaining High Performing Talent

Lori Dubuc, ACC, Managing Partner, Infinite Strategies Group, LLC

Human Resources Consulting, CoachingThere is nothing worse than a high performer with one foot out the door, and you left with no alternative but a counter-offer or a critical vacancy. That’s why now is the time to develop robust succession plans within your organization, or be ready to duke it out with your competitors when the time comes to find the right people for your open positions.   

Strategic workforce planning is key. If you work in U.S. or global talent management, take a look at this sobering report, Global Talent Risk – Seven Responses, from the World Economic Forum and Boston Consulting Group. The report indicates that organizations will experience massive shortages of trained workers over the next twenty years despite current high levels of unemployment.

Identifying your key talent is a process in and of itself, not to mention what to do once those individuals have been identified. Focusing your programs and employees in the following areas will help you get the most out of your high-potential employees:

  1. Collaboratively establish a development plan – advocate for a higher level of performance by creating development plans that are beyond the normal scope of the employee’s current position. Build upon current competencies and identify those competencies needed for them to reach the next level. Align competencies with individual and business goals.  Allowing the employee to help drive the design of this process is important for buy-in on goals.
  2. Provide feedback – All feedback is not created equal.  Providing specific, timely feedback about performance and development progress will reinforce efforts. 
  3. Explore partnership opportunities – collaboratively work with other leaders within your organization to broaden the employee’s experience.  Providing a scope and expectations of hours and responsibilities will broaden the high potential’s capabilities and allow him/her to be seen by other leaders.
  4. Actively participate in learning activities:  Many learning activities can be “one and done.” As a leader, reinforce new concepts from classes or books.  by asking the employee what they learned and how they plan to purposefully apply their learnings to their current situation?  Finally, look at presenting their learnings to an audience of their peers.
  5. Engage a Coach - There are many benefits to engaging either an internal mentor or an external coach can provide a thought and accountability partner for high potential employees.  A coach can guide their client to focus on clear, well-prioritized goals and action steps.  They are the confidential sounding board for what is going well and potential barriers. Coaches also provide new ways to attack old problems, which can be an Achilles heel for some high performers.   When you invest in your talent, both your employees and your bottom line will notice the difference

Aligning business and employee success is the perfect recipe for a win-win situation. Time spent constructing robust strategic planning programs, identifying high performing talent, and growing that talent can, and will, pay dividends.


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