3 Essentials to Keeping Great Talent

blog Sep 19, 2015

You found her! She said "yes"! No not the love of your life, but almost as good. We're talking about your star performer. Here are the three must-haves to ensure she's still on your team a year from now.

1. MENTORSHIP - If you don't have a mentoring program in your organization, start one. It's not optional for todays young talent. Mentoring can be as simple as communicating who's good at what within your organization so that your folks know who to go to when they need help. Hold a brown bag or all hands meeting to discuss what kind of mentoring would be most meaningful. Start the conversation and listen to what your folks want. Research the latest mentoring models. Find a star performer to own the program. Then make it stick by recognizing mentor success stories, encouraging your team to actively mentor junior staff and checking to see if the program is working. Remember you don't need to do all the mentoring yourself. You DO need to create a mentoring culture and keep and eye out to make sure at least one person is serving as mentor for each of your high potentials.

2. GROWTH - Even more than money (we're assuming you pay a competitive wage) talented people crave opportunities to grow. Look closely at your top performers. Don't be in the dark. Talk with them about their aspirations and expectations. How can you clear a career path for them? What would be a compelling stretch assignment? Who can they partner with on a project that would expose them to new skills?

3. MAKING A DIFFERENCE - This one is huge. It's core to being a decent human being. It's what we all want. What does your business do that makes a difference? How does your product elevate the human experience? If the answers are not immediately clear, maybe it's time to open this conversation with your team. Today "making a difference" doesn't mean community service in the old school sense. Today's talent wants to work for companies whose core offering makes a positive difference in the lives of customers. Think Starbucks coffee shops, Zappos customer service and Apple's product design. If your positive impact is hard to define, it may be time to make changes to your products, services, sourcing or culture. The benefits to running a positively impactful company are enormous. When you add "improves people's lives" to your brand image, you'll attract better talent, more customers and command a higher price point, just for starters.

Barbara Shannon is the President of TSG The Shannon Group, a management consulting and executive guidance company helping business leaders grow great companies. Barbara also Chairs a CEO1 the success hub for today's CEOs. Connect with Barbara in your comments or on twitter:1barbarashannon