Ask any CEO to define his or her three most critical goals and one will always be “hiring and retaining top talent.” The greatest challenge a company faces is the ability to strengthen its talent pool dramatically enough and fast enough to stay ahead of the competition. Embracing a talent mindset only takes on meaning if there is clear, unequivocal evidence that the CEO, and all levels of management set the tone, embody the passion, and are absolutely committed and intimately involved in the recruiting and hiring process. Once a new hire is on board, there must be a commitment to orienting and training in order to retain the best.
Each step in embracing a talent mindset must be evaluated with the same scrutiny as a presentation for new business. Outstanding recruiting and hiring requires building or retooling your hiring systems to define a clear strategy, policies and procedures, and roles and responsibilities. Management must define the characteristics of superior performance (examples: communication skills, strategic thinking). Outstanding executives, with the ability to close candidates, should be selected for recruiting teams, but all staff should be held accountable for improving the talent pool. Solid orientation programs make a positive first impression and demonstrate respect and welcome to new employees.
Developing talent is an opportunity to demonstrate a commitment to employee growth. Top talent wants exciting, challenging work with an opportunity for growth and development of new skills. A challenging job with coaching, feedback and mentoring is a way to keep top talent interested and motivated. Training programs for functional skills (e.g., finance, operations) and/or leadership development (e.g., leadership principles and skills) add additional value.