Keeping talented employees engaged and motivated is a priority many businesses – big and small – undervalue.
Not only is it important to focus on the acquisition of great workers, but it is just as important to make sure they are managed in a way that will encourage them to remain working work for you.
Business Insider spoke to Pat Wadors, senior vice president of global talent organisation LinkedIn, to find out how businesses can stay ahead in the “war on talent”.
Here’s what she said.
Look for the canary in the coalmine.
“Listen to the talent, listen to the data and be aware of signals being sent,” Wadors said.
This will get you ahead of the war on talent.
“If a key competitor changes a practice of hiring… I need to have a defensive or offensive reaction,” she said.
“We put in tools and simple feedback loops for recruiters to give me competitive intelligence… and a sense of the value proposition for LinkedIn as an employer. For example, we compare compensation, how competitive are we and the alternative opportunities that these talented people face in the market place. How do we stack up against these propositions?
“It forces me to into conversation and creates an awareness that I wouldn’t otherwise have had.”
Watch for the natural change curve.
“Everybody has a natural change curve,” Wadors explained. “We get bored”.
“You might take two years to get bored, I might take five years to get bored. We learn things through trial and error, we fix our mistakes, we master it and then we’re ready for something else.
“A [LinkedIn] profile indicates to me someones natural change curve: How often have they been promoted, how often have they switched industries, how broad is their appetite for change… [and] how long you have been in your current job.”
Using such insights Wadors said she can predict when people will become bored and when they’re likely to leave.
“I don’t want you leaving so I’ll be insightful with that change curve and see what how I can help you, how I can retain you and what the opportunities in front of us are so you stay highly engaged,” she said.
“If you’re looking at retention rates and engagement levels, when people master something and they sit in the same role too long, they will look for the next challenge.
“I’d rather keep those people in the company innovating and impacting our bottom line.
“[Employers] must be proactive and engage with them. Getting ahead of that natural curve is your best strategic opportunity to retain high talent.”
Focus on talent management, not just acquisition.
“Talent acquisition and talent management is an ongoing struggle for every company,” Wadors said.
“I think it’s a combination. If you’re a steady company in single digit growth, then current talent is the game-changer. You should be getting more intimate, aware and predictive around that talent. If you’re in high growth then you need to balance both side of that equation carefully.
“When you’re in a high growth company you normally have a six or 12 month vision of where you are going. What I try to do with our management team is paint a picture of what-ifs: how big we’re going to be, how broad our market place is, how many products will we be offering? Then I’ll reverse-engineer that picture and say what do we need and where do we grow? Then I can accelerate that growth curve by putting more people in a more favourable location to grow the company.”
Wadors says if a company is able to predict and understand a talent pool and create programs and opportunities to retain them and let them flourish, that’s going to have a huge impact on a company and its bottom line.
“If you don’t have the right people in the right roles then there is a cost to productivity… to revenue,” she said.
“80% of our expenses are related to talent.
“Think like a business leader first: really understand the cost of your P&L, understand the cost of talent and then analyse that talent, grab the data and connect the data to real insights to test your hypothesis.”