In a previous blog post, I predicted 2021 will be the year the high potential talent bubble will burst, and your companies will reactively scramble to keep their best people.
These high potential team members are currently running your organizations, expanding revenues, and leading efforts to modernize your business efforts. In a year of countless challenges, these individuals were the problem solvers, the leaders, and the executors that saved the company. Losing these individuals will cause costly delays, put accounts into jeopardy, and derail new initiatives. And it is expensive, with the Society of Human Resource Management estimating it will take 200% of the high potential’s salary to replace them. These leaders could be the current and future leaders of your organization, if you can keep them.
Don’t wait! Be proactive in keeping your best talent and don’t risk it. Here are 5 actions to take to bear hug your high potential talent so they will stay.
- Select your High Potential Talent: As I speak with many organizations, they haven’t taken the time to identify their high potential talent by name. Your classic HR leader will set up a 12-week project with an in-depth timeline and gnarly spreadsheets. I instead encourage you to act fast. Assemble your leadership team for one hour and create a list of 10 individuals that if lost, would create the biggest setback for the organization.
- Hire Executive Coaches: High potential talent is motivated by personal growth. Providing them with a one-on-one executive coach will reinforce your investment in them, provide them with a place to vent and process challenges, and enable them to grow as leaders. The immediate results will be higher engagement and the longer-term results will be the leader of the future for the company.
- Promote and Reward: In these times of conservative budgets and eliminations of pay increases, I recommend a different strategy. Decrease the total amount of money allocated to promotions and pay increases and focus them on the top 10 high potential talent. If you need to replace these individuals, it will cost up to 200% of their salaries. Or you can give them a pay bump now and reaffirm your support for them.
- Focus on Inclusion: A tactic to help a high potential to feel included at a company is to give them a seat at the table. Invite them to strategy meetings and conduct one-on-one meetings more frequently with these individuals to ask their perspective. These individuals are often workhorses. Elevate them to strategic partners and they will feel included in the mission of the company.
- Prioritize and Resource: Listen closely for the Exhausted Hero who subtlety asks for help prioritizing. These are your drivers, so when they need help, they need help! Sometimes priorities can’t shift, so also be prepared to provide additional resources in dollars or headcount to immediately help out. Again, these are your best people so trust them when they say they need help. If you don’t listen and act, they will act and go somewhere else!
Some of us bear hug as a constraint to keep someone in place. The actions above bear hug the high potential talent so they WANT to stay in place. If a high potential feels disrespected or unappreciated, there is nothing you can do to stop them from leaving. It is amazing how much time HR departments reactively create counter offers to try to convince a high potential talent to stay.
The best organizations focus on the five actions above to proactively ensure their high potential doesn’t want to leave. Take action today!