Will Talent Head for the Door?


When the recession ends, will your top talent head for the door?

Some recent surveys, indicating that employees are anxious to bolt, have warned HR managers and business leaders to get ready for a talent exodus.

Wondering if this concern is well-founded, I recently asked this question on LinkedIn and got some very interesting responses.

In general, respondents said that some movement is likely. Especially in those organizations that did not do right by their workforces. Jay Foley's comment sums it up: "Organizations which were poorly led through the downturn and have lost the respect of their employees will likely suffer some appropriate backlash in the form of desertions. Those who were more careful, and did their best to maintain trust with employees during these times will reap the benefit of that effort."

But other organizations needn't be too worried about losing key talent when recovery comes. These employers have been doing the right things vis a vis their employees during the recession. What things? Here's a sampling of comments:

Frank Feather: "For companies to retain their best talent, they need to be able to reward them for staying on board and for helping the company survive and recover. "

Karl Stewart: "A key driver for high potential talent in organizations is ROI. They ask themselves, "Is staying in my current position giving me work I love that makes a difference? work/life balance that allows me to be with my loved ones? and the cash/security I deserve?" If not, they'll bolt when it's appropriate."

Harvey Hirsh: "There are several factors that can lead people to leave their current position. First of all how employers are currently treating their employees is critical. Those companies that show compassion, care about their employees and reward them, will be less likely to lose employees. However, companies that have shown little regard to their employee and have not rewarded their employee will most likely see much higher turnover rates."

If I were to try and sum up what the many respondents had to say, I'd point to the importance of genuine appreciation, open communication, and meaningful rewards.

More on this in a future blog post.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, Dec 29, 2009

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