Scary Talent Statistics

Business Acumen, Geek 5, Managing people

We’ve talked about succession planning and how it impacts you and your direct reports.  The latest Harvard Business Review has a great article about the retention of top talent.

HBR is a terrific resource for geeks and anyone else looking to move ahead in a broader management role.  HBR hits the Geek 5 in several ways.  One way is that it is a solid source of business acumen.  You’ll learn a lot about business and finance and strategy.  The articles are well-written, based on solid research and often presented in a case study format.  HBR also hits the Geek 5 in terms of having research-based articles about leadership and managing people.  This article is one of those.

The article written by Jean Martin and Conrad Schmidt is called “How to Keep Your Top Talent”, and it appeared in the May 2010 HBR.  It can also be read or downloaded online.

The article is based on solid research from both the Corporate Executive Board (focused on general business) and the Corporate Leadership Council (focused on leadership and HR).  These are expensive organizations to join, but they offer a wealth of information and research and support in areas like Talent Management.  If your company has a membership – you should check them out!

In this post, I’m going to share with you some frightening statistics from the article.  In a future post, we’ll cover the recommendations from Martin and Schmidt on how to tackle the problem.

We’ve defined high-potentials (HiPos) and talked about identifying them in succession planning.  Martin and Schmidt indicate that identification alone is not enough.  HiPos require special attention.  The research indicates:

  • Almost 40% of the internal job moves made by HiPos end in failure
  • One-fourth of your HiPos intends to leave your company in the next year
  • One third of HiPos admit that they don’t put their full effort into the job
  • Employee engagement overall has dropped.  In the first half of 2007 only 8% of employees were “highly disengaged” but by the end of 2009 21% were.

What does this mean for you? 

As a manager, it means that you should be concerned and should start paying attention to your start employees.  As an employee yourself, you should think about your status as a HiPo or not and the impact on your career advancement.

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