Browsing the archives for the HiPos tag.

Beating the Talent Statistics

Geek 5, Managing people

In a previous post, we discussed an article written by Jean Martin and Conrad Schmidt called “How to Keep Your Top Talent” from the May 2010 HBR.  They presented some frightening statistics about the risks of losing high potential employees.   Continuing the conversation, we’ll cover some of the mistakes they discuss in the article. 

Don’t assume engagement

One mistake is to assume that HiPos are highly engaged.  The statistics indicate that many of them are considering leaving and don’t give full effort.  HiPos tend to have out-sized expectations and realize they have lots of employment alternatives.  This can make them edgy and restless.  HiPos are often the first people to be disappointed when the company’s struggles impact compensation and opportunities.  They don’t want to tough it out.  They want to be rewarded and recognized for their contributions.  In these cases, managers and companies need to be creative in offering developmental opportunities and visibility to HiPos to keep them engaged.

HiPos are corporate assets

Another mistake is delegating the development of HiPos to line managers.  Martin and Schmidt argue that HiPos should be managed more centrally.  This allows the HiPos to be developed without a negative financial impact to the department.  It also prevents a line manager from “hoarding” or hiding good talent.   For the most part I agree with this advice.  HiPos should be treated as corporate assets.  However, they also have an operational, line role that needs to be managed by the line manager.  In my view it needs to be a partnership between the line manager and the larger organization.

Check out the article for details on other common mistakes made in dealing with HiPos.

Don’t forget the needs of the organization

It is a good article, but I do take issue with one aspect.  The article gives all of the power to the HiPo and only focuses on what the company can do to satisfy and retain them.  I believe that it needs to be a balance.  There are times when the needs of the organization must trump the needs and desires of the HiPo.  They might need to stay longer in a critical role and not advance as fast as they would like.  They might need to take a pay freeze along with everyone else.    HiPos are usually worth a special development focus.  But don’t lose sight of the bigger picture.  Don’t reward one person to the detriment of others.  Keep a balance between retaining HiPos and running the business and treating all employees well.  HiPos alone cannot run a successful company.  If you balance too far in their favor, you could damage your business.

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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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