The Hunt for Top Talent: Identifying and Retaining Superstars

by Saba Software | Posted | Performance Management

The Hunt for Top Talent: Identifying and Retaining Superstars

Searching for top talent in your organization can be a lot like an Easter egg hunt. You know those great eggs are out there, but what's the best way to find them?

Just like every child searches in earnest for the biggest, best, choclatiest egg, you need to be on the lookout for these top performers. And managers play a key role in this effort.

Five ways managers can identify and retain top talent

1. Use one-on-one meetings as a discovery tool. Discuss career aspirations with your top performers, their contributions to the organization and what might be next. Essentially, look for opportunities to inspire and challenge them.

2. Don't keep them a secret. While as a child you may have resisted sharing all the Easter loot you searched so hard and long for, sharing top talent with other areas in the organization is win-win. Top performers get to stretch their skills by working in a cross-collaborative function, and other areas of the organization benefit by leveraging their unique skills and abilities.

3. Use annual performance appraisal scores. Use these scores to flag to HR that you have superstars on your team who may be talent pool candidates. At minimum, you should be having a discussion with HR on what kind of development plan to put in place to keep them motivated and engaged.

4. Create a development plan for them. Development is often a key factor in keeping top talent engaged in their work. So have regular development conversations with them. Ask questions about where these employees want to develop their skills rather than directing them to develop in certain areas.

5. Don't assume your top talent is only interested in money. The fact of the matter is money isn't enough. These star performers often put great value on other forms or recognition and compensation. Take the time to ask what it is these employees want - greater flexibility, more vacation, etc. - then do what you can to give it to them.

What sets top talent apart?

Top talent is extremely valuable - like that giant chocolate egg all the children want to get their hands on.

According to Dr. John Sullivan, top performers:

  • Produce as much as 10 times more than the average worker, while they often require less than two times the pay
  • Generate most of the innovation and new ideas
  • Help others to improve their performance, because they serve as mentors, trainers and role models

These individuals are overachievers who have a special combination of abilities, attitude, drive and focus. Traits that make these superstars live and work to excel. They aren't satisfied by simply reaching a goal; they're constantly looking for new ways to make further improvements. And that's what makes them important to the success of your organization.

To keep a hold of these valuable employees, be sure to emphasize career progression and personal growth, offer challenging and interesting work opportunities, and give them the tools and resources they need to work to the best of their abilities.

 Happy egg - err, I mean talent hunting!

Your Turn: What advice do you have on how to identify and retain top talent? 

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