5 innovative strategies to attract, retain, and fully develop top talent

I just finished a keynote in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, speaking for the American Foundry Society, an organization whose members, like you,  are vital to the growth of our economy. They are also an organization, like the financial services industry, who are struggling with issues around labor. Challenges such as lack of skilled labor, attracting talent, and of course succession planning.

Everyone seems to think it is a generational issue, like there is something wrong with this younger generation. And while there are always challenges navigating from one generation to the next, the majority of issues with labor are not generational. The truth is we have been complaining about young people since the age of Socrates, yet somehow the working world continues to evolve even though we think those younger than us can’t handle it.

News flash—there is NOTHING wrong with the younger generation

Sitting front and center at my keynote today were five young men (in their early 20’s) looking for an opportunity in the metal casting industry. Again, they were in the front row, pen, and paper in hand, taking copious notes, and never looked at their phones. Not one time.

At the close of my keynote, they were the first in line to ask questions and get their photos taken. I don’t know about you, but I am not sure at their age I was that engaged. I for sure know I never would have attended an industry conference, let alone stayed for the closing session.

So, you see, while every generation has its challenges, and every generation has its under-performers, every generation has its shining stars and committed workers. That means your job as an employer is to figure out how to find those shining stars, attract them, develop them, and do what you need to do to hold on to them. And doing this in today’s marketplace takes a new approach.

Understanding what today’s employees are looking for

So, if there are shining stars in today’s marketplace, how do you find them? Well, you need to begin by understanding them, and what today’s employee is really looking for.

If you are anything like me, over the age of 50, then you grew up in a very different world. You grew up in a world where when you graduated from school and got a job, you believed that job would be there. You believed if you worked hard, you would get promoted, and if you did not cause too much trouble, you could retire there, get your gold watch, and maybe even a pension.

No employee, no matter their age, believes that anymore. Every day your employees come to work, the prospects you are trying to hire, are thinking: why should I engage? Why should I give my all? Why should I fully commit to your credit union, when I have no trust that this credit union will commit to me?

As leaders we have taken guarantee off the table, and with guarantee off the table, we need to put something else back in its place.

5 innovative strategies to attract and retain top talent

  1. Rethink talent attraction: Face it, you need great employees more than great employees need you. The obstacles you are facing are numerous—shortage of workers, widening skill gaps, and lack of succession planning coupled with increasing leaders retiring from the credit union industry. Your current strategy for attracting, retaining, and developing talent needs an overhaul. A quick seeds, weeds, and needs will get you jump started.
    • Seeds – What are you doing that is working? What do you need more of?
    • Weeds – What is not working? What is wasting time? What do you need to do less of?
    • Needs – What do we need to be doing? How could we be more effective?
  2. Focus inside out: Any employee worth their salt today can find a job, so if that is what you are promoting, your talent attraction strategy is in the dark ages. It’s time for an update—culture needs to be your focus. Great employees choose culture first, and creating an environment that is attractive to current and potential employees is where your recruitment and retention strategy needs to start.
  3. Be selective: The worst mistake you can make in today’s marketplace is to just hire anyone just to fill a position. I get it, times are tough, but this is not the time to settle. Hiring right will determine your ability to retain current employees and attract new talent. It is time to build your employee AVATAR. In other words, who is your ideal employee? What qualities, characteristics, talents, skills do they have? By building your ideal avatar, you will be clear on who you are looking for. If you know who you are looking for, you will interview better, and if you interview better you are guaranteed to hire right.
  4. Build your pipeline: Hiring talent has become a proactive sport. Any employee who meets your ideal AVATAR most likely already has a job. You need to keep a pipeline—that is right—a pipeline just like you have for your sales team. A list/pipeline of employees you would like to have on your team. Internal and external employees you want on your team. So, for every open position you should have three qualified candidates you are considering to fill that role. You need to have a pipeline that is active, robust, and proactive.
  5. Think like a soldier: Talent development and talent attraction need to be a team sport. This is not just for the C-Suite, or for when a position opens. You want to share your AVATAR with every member of your team and ask everyone to help and support. In the military, every soldier must train their replacement before they can move into their next role. You need every member of the team fully engaged in the process.

Don’t fall victim to the idea that the labor and talent issues you are facing are a generational issue. There are amazing people and employees in every generation. Follow these strategies, shift your mindset, and you will not only find the talent you need, you will turn all of this uncertainty to your greatest competitive advantage.

Meridith Elliott Powell

Meridith Elliott Powell

Voted One of The Top 15 Business Growth Experts To Watch, and Top 41 Motivational Sales Speakers, Meridith Elliott Powell is a former financial services executive. Today she helps her ... Web: https://www.meridithelliottpowell.com Details