Does your organization’s top talent have one foot out the door?

While unemployment continues to hover around the 10% mark and most of us find ourselves reeling from the deepest recession since the great depression, the idea of a blog on “Talent Wars” may seem like a strange topic for me to be talking about. However, savvy employers should ready themselves for the coming battle.

As people, especially the most talented people, prepare themselves mentally and reassess their professional positions, there will be a significant shift in their thinking. They will actively be seeking new positions to make up for lost earnings and a fresh new beginning. Because many organizations eliminated pay raises and reduced or eliminated bonus payouts (except Wall Street) many people feel pressure to stabilize their financial situation and rebuild their family’s financial future.

We live in a new reality as a result of the economic decline and the evaporation of much of the wealth across our country. People have new priorities. There is less certainty around holding high paying jobs into your mid 50’s, let alone to retirement at 65. This will create pressure to earn more right now, which will lead to changing employers as soon as possible in order to increase earning potential.

Define Talent
It is important to note the difference between the demand for talent and the demand for people. I like to think of talent as the top 20% of performers in the labor pool. There is a large labor pool – many who are out of work – but, there is a limited supply of really talented people.

The top performers are those who generate a greater amount of output. They know they generate a disproportionate amount of the workload compared to co-workers, and they will demand to be rewarded as the economy grows. When they don’t receive those rewards from their current employer they will basically declare themselves free agents and begin, passively and/or actively seeking new job opportunities. In fact, this is probably well underway right now.

Reward Talent
Rewarding your talent will pose a challenge for traditional business practices and policy that they are not designed to address. Most organizations have a narrow range of compensation with very little difference between the average producer and the top performers.

Here are some thoughts and ideas for your consideration:
*Great people deserve income and recognition more than average performers.
*Redesign your compensation plan. If performance is not the same, rewards should not be the same. Build in compensation that rewards the success of the organization and outstanding individual results. * Make sure your top talent is working for your best bosses. Perhaps you have heard the saying that people join organizations but, quit bosses. As a recruiter I can vouch for that. Don’t let a bad boss drive today’s talent and future leaders to your competitor. Top talent will not tolerate incompetent or abusive leadership for long.
*Be sure your top talent is working on your organizations most important work. This way, you are maximizing your return on your investment. Top talent wants to feel empowered and to face challenging work.
*Provide your best employees the resources to stay current and develop professionally. They will reward you with loyalty.

Act now! Don’t wait till your top performers begin to leave.
David Lammert

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