Posted by & filed under Corporate Culture, Employee Development, Leadership.

Are those in top leadership positions doing enough to retain their key employees as the economy starts to improve? Veteran management adviser and author Ram Charan doesn’t think so.

In a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, Charan outlined the mistakes executives of major US companies are making by not investing the time and energy necessary for talent development:

Among Fortune 500 CEOs, the intent to put people as a key item is high. But in actual practice, the percentage really doing a thorough job is less than 25%.

You also should be looking five years ahead. So if 30% of your revenues are going to come from emerging markets and you’re getting 10% today, what are people’s experiences in emerging markets? Are you giving them the opportunity to grow?

Charan stated in no uncertain terms that organizational leaders who do not make talent development a priority will lose valuable employees and suffer financially in the long run. Leaders who can’t find time in their busy schedules to evaluate their team members’ performance, address ways to develop talent and make changes where necessary will find themselves with a serious employee retention problem. In that case, what do leaders need to do to make positive change?

Talent Management Problems & Solutions

Problem: Leaders aren’t held accountable for cultivating talent.

Solution: In a fast-paced world, it’s easy for tasks to get lost in the shuffle. Don’t let talent management be one of them. The people within your organization are the most important part of how you do business, and if you want your enterprise to succeed, you need to be committed to helping your people grow. Make talent development a concrete part of every manager’s job, with specific goals, tasks and measures of evaluation just like any other responsibility. Hold leaders accountable for this piece of their job, and challenge them to improve their own performance in this area.

Problem: Performance assessments aren’t as thorough as they need to be.

Solution: Charan hit the nail on the head when he said, “I want quarterly reviews of people the way they do quarterly reviews of numbers.” Performance assessments should be specific, honest and forward-focused, helping leaders identify key team members and how to help them grow within the organization. Managers should ask the right questions to pinpoint what these employees need to stay engaged in and committed to their work. These reviews should also help leaders determine employees who might not be a good fit or policies that need to be altered.

Problem: Talent development doesn’t hold the place of importance that it should.

Solution: To some in top leadership positions, managing talent may fall low on the list of priorities because it isn’t as important as the bottom line. Again, the people in your organization are just as important as the numbers. The two are intertwined, and leaders should be rewarded for mentoring and developing talent as well as for increasing profits or traditional outcomes.

What ways do you encourage talent development in your organization?

Learn more about EDSI’s Challenging the Status Quo for Continuous Improvement course.

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