Saturday, June 12, 2010

Top Talent

The May 2010 issue of Harvard Business Review has an article by Jean Martin and Conrad Schmidt entitled How to Keep Your Top Talent. They studied 20,000 employees dubbed "emerging stars" in more than 100 organizations worldwide over a six year period. They found the following - - 33% of high-potential employees admit to not putting all his or her efforts into the job, 25% believe he or she will be working for another employer in a year, and 20% believe his or her aspirations are quite different from what the organization has planned for them.

Given these statistics, the authors have come up with a "top 10" list of critical components that should be considered for a talent-development program:
  1. Explicitly test candidates in three dimensions - - ability, engagement, and aspiration.
  2. Emphasize future competencies needed (derived from corporate-level growth plans) more heavily that current performance when you're choosing employees for development.
  3. Manage the quantity and quality of high potentials at the corporate level, as a portfolio of scarce growth assets.
  4. Forget rote functional or business unit rotations - - place young leaders in intense assignments with precisely described development challenges.
  5. Identify the riskiest, most challenging positions across the company, and assign them directly to rising stars.
  6. Create individual development plans - - link personal objectives to the company's plans for growth, rather than to generic competency models.
  7. Reevaluate top talent annually for possible changes in ability, engagement, and aspiration levels.
  8. Offer significantly differentiated compensation and recognition to star employees.
  9. Hold regular, open dialogues between high potentials and program managers, to monitor star employees' development and satisfaction.
  10. Replace broadcast communications about the company's strategy with individualized messages for emerging leaders - - with an emphasis on how their development fits into the company's plans.

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