How can you tell if your company is a talent farm for the 'Big Guns' in your industry? How can you stop your company from being a learning and development facility for your competitors? Is there anything more disheartening as an employer of talent to see all your efforts, time and money that you have invested in your team go up in smoke, as they leave you for your competitor, who has come dangling carrots and promises, that you know are not necessarily going to prove worthwhile and yet, off they go, with a wave and a promise to keep in touch. It is maddening to see the outcomes of your exit interviews provide you with the same competitor name over and over again. If you are in this situation you are a farm for your competitors and your attrition rate will remain high.
I was a farmer, I would have three main 2nd tier farms/firms that were my 'go to pool' for talent when I worked in the Big 4 firms. I won't embarrass them by saying who those farms were but needless to say they were producing great talent, had learning and development pathways, which replicated ours and had clients that weren't far off Big 4 size, it was a no-brainer to pull those carrots out of the field and dangle them in front of those candidates. It was a sure win, stroking the ego and flashing the cash was an attraction method I used and it didn't need a lot else.
So what can you, as a caring employer, do to turn this around, if not actually turn the tables around?
One game plan and one I have seen work wonders is to use your people to counter sell the 'grass is greener' approach. Go out of your way to get your key players back from your competitors when they are at middle management stage. Why? Well at this stage they would have a few years market knowledge of your competitors strategy and tactics and will bring that IP back to you and also know how to improve things back in your company. They may be able to bring clients that they have managed and built a great reputation with, keen clients always follow talent. Some companies refuse to take their old star employees back on principle! What principle that is I don't know, but it's wrong - park the ego! Woo them, find out what their pain points are in their current role and company and work out a plan that will be giving them what they want, such as offering them a greater role with breadth to develop their area, owning their own work and development is a real selling point to the millennials, who are at middle management stage now. Bigger organisations are less flexible with broadening scope and providing ownership, so you will win. Once you have some enthused returners back, get them to advocate for you, staff retention can be one of their targets, get them to say why the grass is not greener, they have been to those other pastures and have returned, which makes their reasoning to stay credible with your team, what a great asset to have.
Another game plan is to be brave! Don't replicate your competition in your office environment, change it, be unique. Look at what your competition isn't offering and what your target market wants in an environment, as far as reasonable. Fortunately the days of bean bags and fuzz ball, 'thank you Google' are over. There are many ways to skin a cat. For example, personalised retention plans work wonders and are hard to replicate in large companies. When you know each individuals motivators and aspirations you can keep them motivated and with you, if you provide the right pathways, opportunities and chances.
This is touching the tip of a very big iceberg and every farm has become a farm for their own reasons, and if you are in this position we want to help you by providing a bespoke strategy to turn your company into a place where people don't go running off to the competition at the dangle of a carrot. Let Talent Optics shape your company strategy to turn this around. It won't take much time for us to work out what is going wrong and see what can be done to change things, just a little bit of time and you will get a great reward.
For more information book in call or email Clare Reed, MD at Talent Optics.