Nurture and Engage Your Talent to Stop Them From Leaving

Every organization, whether it’s small or big, doing sales, catering, distribution or splitting atoms, has some of its own stars, talents or multi talents. These stars, your bees, work and they never complain. Not only do they work, but they give ideas and take responsibilities. Nurture and engage your talent as this is a crucial step if your goal is to retain, not lose them.  


Why is talent nurture and engagement important?

Many of your are probably not aware of the fact that many of your stars never get the opportunity to shine as much as they would like to or have potential to. Their effort isn’t recognized and they sadly leave the organization where they grew and developed.

Did they have the real opportunity to grow and develop? Did you recognize the elegance of their inexhaustible energy, hunger for knowledge and unfailing source of ideas? Well, I guess not. They are leaving, not looking behind.

When unappreciated, multi talented individual leaves the working group, two scenarios are possible:

He or she is leaving, and we’ve given him or her everything! How ungrateful! We will easily find someone else, since the country is full of unemployed people.

Sob, sob, he or she is gone!

Scenario No.1

If you are the organization from this scenario, then you have bigger problem than this individual who has left.

It is very possible that you’ve stuck in some time cleft, sleeping on the laurels of an old glory (special accent on ‘sleeping’), deeply convinced that you’re the best that could happen to anyone. You’re feeling nice in that balloon, which is made of old (self) handlebars, who know best and don’t need these modern things imagined by idlers. Who cares for talents? After all, this is not a reality show.

You’re feeling nice, so why would you change that? Time goes by, and you forgot the one who got excited about work a lot (he’s young, he’ll get exhausted), had some ideas (how rude of him), talked about some changes (how dares he), and all in all, dangerously threatened to disturb your ideal balance.

But, that individual took your big job! Took the customer right in front of your nose, and the big profit you really counted on! Here, you’re entering into Scenario No.2, because howling echoes from every side. Justified, and expected completely.

‘’The individual’’, running from you, escaped into the hug of competition, that welcomed him with their wide-opened hands. They saw he knows, will, and can (you could have seen it, too).

They took him under their wings, cuddled and took care of. Taught, directed, motivated and commended him. In other words, they nurtured and engaged him. They recognized the talent, and used the opportunity to attract him when you were not able to retain him. They put a little effort and time, and get a lot – a new customer, profit growth, expand of market, etc.

Scenario No.2

It’s not too late for you. If you wake up immediately and go into action. It is good that you realized the value of talented individuals and the importance of retaining them. It is bad that you realized it too late. It is good that you are aware of your mistake.

Now learn from your mistakes, and start nurturing and engaing your employees. People say that mistakes are best way of learning. Look around in the past, make plan now and strongly go into the future. Find failures you made and bravely face them. Make plan what you will do differently. Do it! It’s simple, isn’t it?

Scenario No. 3

This scenario wasn’t mentioned earlier, but it’s the scenario that every serious organization should aspire to. Let’s start.

The first task is that you, with your managers’ and/or team leaders’ help, detect individuals who particularly stand out in your team. Criterion could be measurable (e.g. the goals of sales), inventiveness, his/hers leading skills, affect on the rest of the team, etc. The list of possibilities is endless. It is extremely important that all set criterions came from your organizational culture and the job you do.

When you set the criterions, using maths a little or subjective evaluation (but not too much), you come to a certain number of individuals who have top results in all the set criterions. Great! Now that we know who our talents are, we can go to sleep. Actually no – we’re going to start working!

The second task is to talk to every talent. It won’t be that easy. Conversations with them should be made in a less formal atmosphere, but with the clear structure. It’s important to ask questions that will give you answers you can use. Moreover, it’s important to encourage an individual to engage, so the communication could be completely honest and open in an unnoticed way.

It’s important that you let them talk. People like to know they are listened to, and in such situations they relax and talk about their goals, plans, and wishes. That’s what you need. This information can help you set further term of their professional development.

It’s important to mention that you set aside a special time for these conversations. If this conversation last half an hour, and you take about 18 emergency phone calls during that, you’re taking the risk to become extremely counterproductive.

While doing the conversation, you’ll bring out your plans considering the talent, and present the action plan of development. In this part, you mustn’t promise something you won’t fulfil. Stick to realistic and achievable parts, with precise timeframe. Every step in the plan of development should have a certain start and end as well as the consequent measurement of results.

The crown or the ultimate goal of that plan should definitely be progress of talent – professional, intellectual, hierarchical and emotional. The progress of talent is the progress of company. That’s it, we’re done! We recognized, talked, listened, and now we have a plan. Great! Let’s move on!

Two magic words: motivation and feedback

Practice has shown there are two magic words crucial for successful development of talents. Motivation and feedback.

Motivation – not just patting shoulder or giving higher salary, but to motivate with commendation, recognizing effort, and with constructive critics. Motivate with proper focusing. Motivate with creating atmosphere of success and winners. Motivate with the understanding problems and giving a hand and support. It’s not hard, is it? And it doesn’t cost much. But, it worth a fortune.

Feedback – it’s very important your talent gets feedback. If you don’t tell what he/she did well, they’ll never know. If you don’t tell him/her your expectations, they won’t fulfill it. Taping in an informative dark, didn’t get good to anyone. Information is gold.

If your meeting or conversation is accompanied with a short follow up e-mail with processed themes and made points, the success won’t fail. Also, a well done project is cat’s whisker if it’s followed by an e-mail in which you’ll commend a well done work, constructively point out what could have been better and conclude it with ‘’Let’s move on’’. Like motivation, feedback doesn’t cost much as well, and it brings multiple benefits.

Maybe it’ll be difficult to find time for feedback, but the fact is that it will save you time in the end. Once you work preventively, you won’t waste time on mistakes that are repeating. Talents will appreciate your effort, time and knowledge you put into them and return it in the best way. Your organization will grow, increasing profit, strengthening its brand and position on the market.

Not making it all like a fairy-tale, once it starts – the process of managing the talents can show some bad assessments. It can crystallize the individuals who won’t show themselves successful in the end. That again can be good because you recognized someone who would sooner or later become a problem or a stumbling stone on a company’s way to success.

Recognize the talents, invest your time, knowledge and energy into their development. It’s worth it. Your success shouldn’t be neglected in the whole story, nor emotional satisfaction for encouraging someone to give its best.

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