The core foundation of a successful company is built on the solid grounds of skilled workforce and high potential employees (Hi-Po). A major factor responsible for driving such business success is to build a pipeline of talent that is prepared to take on greater responsibilities and leadership roles. Given the current backdrop of rapidly evolving global scenario and technology advancements, demand for leaders who can succeed in today’s volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) business is on the rise. However, at the same time, there has been an acute shortage of able and qualified leaders.
High-potential talent is any organisation’s most precious asset that possesses the true potential to take the company to newer heights. Hence, in order to balance the talent pool - identifying, engaging, nurturing and developing high potential employees at all levels becomes a key process. This process can be effectively managed with the introduction of robust talent management practices. According to experts, the companies which follow comprehensive talent management practices increase their succession planning effectiveness by almost 100%. Though, its success highly depends on leadership and performance management modules.
Globally, many organisations believe that the process of managing talent should have an integrated approach. Amidst the important roles of employee engagement and recognition, talent management is a significant business strategy that helps ensure attraction and retention of valuable employees. Its strong and dominant presence in a company’s human resource policies helps instil confidence in prospective employees by providing ample of development and grooming opportunities.
Employee engagement is an essential aspect of talent retention. And, in order to drive a higher level of employee involvement and motivate them to become valuable assets to an organisation, I would like to recommend following ways;
1. Introduce employee rewards and recognition programme:
High-potential talent is the critical business differentiator. And, with changing global competition and new opportunities, retaining talent has become very challenging. However, one of the best ways to encourage high-potential employees is to recognise their talent with suitable rewards. Recognition is a critical component of employee engagement and it enables an organisation to showcase that the employee is truly valued.
2. Increase intensity of challenging work:
Interesting, new and challenging work plays a significant role in motivating the workforce and helps to keep them engaged and interested in respective job roles. A particular section of employees, especially the high potential ones are always on the lookout for new challenging projects. This inculcates a realisation amongst employees that they have made a worthwhile contribution to the business and their own personal development.
3. Provide abundant growth opportunities:
Evaluation of employee performance decides the next step for identifying various avenues to fulfil employee’s future aspirations. In order to take care of employee aspirations, along with training and skill development, keen importance should also be given to career advancement and promotion.
4. Link with influential mentors:
Getting a high potential employee engaged with an influential mentor or motivator can prove to be a great employee retention strategy. Along with increasing company’s retention ratio, it can also effectively contribute in attracting new talent by demonstrating company’s willingness to the employee’s holistic development.
5. Training and Development programmes:
High potential employees are often very ambitious in nature and career development opportunities carry a great deal of weight age to them. Frequent training and development programmes to the deserving employees provide employers with a big return on investment in the future.
6. Create a stress-free work environment:
Creating a stress-free working area promotes a healthier workforce and helps to retain top-notch talent in the organisation which might get affected due to its toxic environment.
Furthermore, in order to ensure the successful implementation of organisation’s employee engagement initiative, a combined effort of HR professionals and senior management play an important role.
The role of HR:
To foster a culture of engagement, HR should lead the way in the design, measurement and evaluation of proactive workplace policies and practices. This can further help to attract and retain talent with skills and competencies necessary for growth and sustainability.
The role of middle management:
Middle management plays a key role in employee engagement by creating a respectful and trusting relationship with their colleagues and setting expectations for the day-to-day business. However, managers need to be empowered by giving them larger responsibilities and encouraging higher involvement in strategic decisions. By taking up more responsibilities and realising the level of trust the organisation has on the employee, it makes employees much more productive.
We have spoken about the importance of employee engagement and various ways to boost employee retention within the organisation. Now, let’s look at few challenges that can come in the way and strategies to overcome them. While dealing with high potential employees who have a higher aspirational quotient, the biggest challenge facing organisations is to keep them happy and gain loyalty.
- Creating compelling career options suitable to employee’s future aspirations
- Curate effective training and development programmes to produce leaders of tomorrow
- To get desired return on investment after developing employee succession and leadership programmes
Strategies to overcome obstacles:
1. Involve Business Leaders:
It is always beneficial to ensure complete buy-in of business leaders with respect to any processes that you wish to run in the organisation. It’s best to include them right at the design stage of an intervention and take their inputs as well. This enables the Talent Management team to design interventions which are holistic in nature and take into aspects the finer nuances of business realities.
Doing this ensures ownership as well as the success of most talent development interventions.
2. Strong WIIFM:
When an employee is designated as ‘top talent’ within an organisation, it is natural for him/her to expect differentiated inputs than those available to everybody else. The Talent Manager needs to ensure that the proposition of ‘What’s In It For Me’ is clearly articulated and this creates a sense of exclusivity for the employee. Talent today needs independence, authority to make choices and execute and face time with senior leaders. Putting an intervention in place which offers this will be one of the key success factors of an organisation’s talent practices.
India is on the verge of becoming the world’s youngest country by 2020 with almost 40% of the country’s population being under 35 years of age group. This allows us a huge opportunity to implement best talent management practices in the country by many organisations. Increased levels of engagement help to promote talent retention, foster customer loyalty and improve organisational performance and stakeholder value.