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Talent management – finding the missing link

Talent management - finding the missing link | LMA

Depending on who you talk to in which sector, organisations are either grappling with talent management and retention of talent through tough times OR really struggling to attract the talent they need to keep up with demand.

Regardless of the situation you face, there are some key considerations that must be borne in mind when it comes to talent identification, attraction, retention and overall talent management.

From LMA’s Leadership Employment and Direction (L.E.A.D.) Survey, a consistent 85% of employees have indicated that they would like to develop and advance their careers with the organisation with which they are currently working – yet only 60% believe they are likely to achieve this with their current employer.

This 25 percentage point gap between desire and reality breeds unease, discontent, anxiety and ultimately leads those 25% to start looking elsewhere to fulfil their needs for advancement and growth.

So what’s the missing link?
In many cases, the missing link is a plan that takes the individual on a journey – a step-by-step pathway to success defined in terms of progression, skill development, growth and ultimately them achieving more of what they want to achieve – and in doing so, achieving more of what the organisation needs from its people.

The latest statistics on reasons to stay and reasons to leave reveal a very self-focused set of needs:

Top 5 reasons to stay with your current employer
Employee view
1. Salary increases 65
2. Opportunities for career development 59
3. Opportunities for training and development 50
4. Flexible work hours 45
5. Flexible leave arrangements 19


Top 5 reasons to leave to join another organisation
Employee view
1. Salary increases 77
2. Opportunities for career development 59
3. Flexible work hours 47
4. Opportunities for training and development 37
5. Opportunities to travel 21


This is amplified by the latest findings in relation to the factors that define an Employer of Choice – an employer that the individual genuinely wants to join and commit to:

Employer of Choice Factors


Recognises and rewards staff well 1
Invests in the learning and development of its people 2
Pays above average salaries and bonuses for excellent performance 3
Is a place where you can have fun and enjoy working 4
Management is passionate and engaging to work with 5


Together, these results suggest that organisations, and particularly leaders and managers, must be prepared to take the time to understand the individual’s MOTIVATIONS and NEEDS. Further, they must be willing to work towards providing more of what will make their people WANT to perform.

If they are unwilling to tailor the workplace and the conditions to meet the needs of individuals, they may find talent shortages start to appear or exacerbate and the organisation’s ability to achieve its objectives will be severely hampered.

So how can managers and leaders work to understand their people and create the environment for performance, retention, development and growth that will hold the people in the organisation?

Actions and tools for talent management

A variety of actions and tools can and should be applied for talent management to make the best of the talent you have and attract the talent you need into the future including:

  • Position descriptions – the creation/refinement of accurate position descriptions provides the certainty needed by individuals and clarifies expectations for all.
  • High Payoff Activities – the identification and agreement of the five or six core activities that provide the greatest return on investment for the individual and the organisation provides a sound basis for everyone to know where they should be investing the bulk of their time.
  • Accurate and meaningful performance reviews – without the feedback that comes through an accurate and meaningful performance review, individuals are effectively flying blind – unable to adjust to better fulfil expectations and unable to progress in their careers
  • Skills audit – identifying and documenting the current skill levels helps to identify training and development needs and avenues to use internal resources to develop others in the core skills needed.
  • Training and development plan – an individual training and development plan for each person in the organisation sends a signal that the organisation cares about the progression of its people.
  • Motivation plan – understanding what makes people tick and what will make them turn up and perform is critical – the better you know your people the more able you are to tap into their motivations and provide the environment for superior performance.
  • Succession planning – painting a picture of the individual’s future and plotting a course to allow it to come to life is a key function of the modern leader/manager – knowing who is available to step up to a higher role and what needs to happen to enable this transition is fundamental in the forward planning of the organisation’s future.

Consistently, around one in four employees (22%) have had little or no reassurance about their organisation’s future. Even more alarming is the 37% who have had little or no reassurance about their own future in the organisation. Little wonder many are looking elsewhere for options beyond their current organisation (around 50% have considered looking for a new job in another organisation in the last six months).

There’s a familiar saying that reminds us of the importance of sending the right signals to our people through the actions we take to develop and progress them:

“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care”

As a leader or manager, you are responsible not just for the performance of your team but also for their development and growth. The long term viability and stability of the organisation and its workforce depends on it – what should you be doing to attract, retain and develop your talent?