Managers miss talent boat

by 26 Nov 2008

COMPANIES NEED to urgently focus on talent retention as a means of retaining competitive advantage and success in an economic downturn,however, most organisations still struggle when it comes to understanding and managing their talented performers.

Gaining insight into retaining key talent in our organisations is absolutely fundamental to the future success of the private and public sectors, said Bronwyn Hughes, leadership research fellow at the MGSM Institute for Sustainable Leadership, which conducted research into talent management in Australian organisations.

“At the moment Australian organisations appear to be lagging behind, with a track record in providing effective retention strategies such as careers management, training,job design, and appropriate work-life balance for employees reflecting a lower-than-needed level of resource allocation.”

The research found that 70 per cent of senior managers strongly agreed that it was more difficult to keep good people today than it was a year ago.

Further, just over half (56 per cent) of managers stated that their companies had created a clearly defined talent profile, while just over a third (35 per cent) expressed confidence that their organisations had any way of knowing whether or not these talented employees were at risk of leaving.

When it came to talent retention, managers said strategies included flexible working hours to facilitate work-life balance, monitoring staff concerns with regular face-to-face conversations, external management development programs, and in-house training and development.

“Australian executives appear to be aware that keeping good people is both important and increasingly difficult,” said Hughes. “However, the survey results suggest that many executives may be addressing talent retention in an ad hoc manner,rather than with a clearly articulated talent management strategy.”

Effective career development strategies

• Fast-tracking a career path with promotion based on performance

• Job rotation in flat organisational structures with limited upward movement

• Short-term secondments (both overseas and with clients)

• Providing opportunities to work on projects outside regular work to expand skills and increase responsibility

• Creation of new layers in the organisation to allow for better career development

• Providing a succession planning/management pathway supervisor

• Creating personal development plans utilising senior managers as mentors


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