Your “War” for (Keeping) Talent

November 20, 2013, by , Posted in Leadership & Management, 0 Comment

Gary Burnison, CEO at Korn/Ferry International, wrote about the struggles ahead next year for corporations: 2014: A “New” War for Talent. 

…Going into 2014 we are in a new era that I have referenced as an unprecedented fight for growth. In meetings with corporate leaders worldwide, there is consensus that the problem of growth, or lack of it, is rapidly becoming the world’s No. 1 problem. Governments and corporate CEO’s alike are grappling with the growth question, even if from different perspectives.”

Burnison goes on to say that this war for talent is different than the one over the last 20 years or during the era. That war was driven by supply and demand. Now, Burnison states, “The winning companies will be those that find and develop outperforming leaders in an underperforming economy.”

My view is that the experienced leaders need to be developed to meet this “new” slow-growth economy. They need new awareness as they shift their ways of leading others as well as the businesses. Burnison says, “In this new normal, growth is slow, but change is fast.” Where are the opportunities to strip away the things in the business that are slow to meet the changing market conditions? Where is the talent in my company who are able to change and lead others in a way that changes how we operate quickly?

My other response to the Burnison’s perspective and global intelligence is that winning businesses need to select the types of leaders now and develop them to meet the fast changing market opportunities. Stop focusing on hiring the right leader from another company. There are people in your organization that you may have overlooked or haven’t had the opportunity to see them in action. These are the ambitious and energetic men and women who are seeking the experience to lead teams, improve results and make a difference.

In a 2002 article by Beverly Kaye and Sharon Jordan-Evans, Retention in Tough Times, they mention the survey results that continue to be important in retaining your critical people. “In a survey of 8,000 people in 35 industries, here’s what respondents said were the leading drivers for keeping them:

Exciting work and challenge*
Career growth, learning and development*
Relationships and working with great people*
Great boss and supportive management*
Pride in the organization, its mission and its products
Great work environment or culture*
Being recognized, valued and respected*
Meaningful work: making a difference


The challenge to most managers I have spoken to is “How do I wrap up these organizational objectives to enrich the culture for day-to-day use?” “What can I do or be to my people that fulfills these responsibilities? My initial response is to become a coach as well as a mentor to the people you lead. Of course I am biased, but 13 years as an executive coach has taught me that coaching others we work with is an efficient, practical and all encompassing method of keeping people engaged and wanting to continue to work with you. The asterisks above are the attributes that a leader can practice that demonstrate care, concern and development for their people. We can capsulize all of these in the practice of coaching and mentoring.

Coaching brings out the best in people. Used frequently, coaching is a great leadership tool that addresses the needs and desires of your best talent. Coaching is all about developing people the way they want to be developed. A manager who coaches her people will not only improve their statistics for growing and keeping good talent, but will also increase the level of engagement, productivity and innovativeness among team members.

Learn how to coach. Get some training to coach in your work environment. This is not coaching the way professional coaches coach, as I coach. I have a unique, 3-step model to teach managers how to coach. It is easy to learn, but it takes practice to integrate coaching into your style of leadership. Call me for more information or if you have interest in participating in the Coach Right Now! Workshop.



About Bud Roth

Bud Roth

Bud is a seasoned executive with over 25 years experience working with Fortune 500 companies. Roth Consulting Group LLC focuses on team and executive coaching, organizational renewal, expatriate support, and improving leadership performance. Bud's recently published book, Be More Productive – Slow Down, suggests methods of reflection and actions that guide us to regain control of our busy life and reduce stress by slowing down.