Recruit and Retain Talent

In the past two years, since launching four books, I’ve been a guest on over 300 podcast and radio/television programs.

With respect to providing leadership advice, I emphatically reiterate that a leader’s key contribution is to recruit and retain talent.

If a leader believes their role is to achieve results with and through others, there’s no argument.

In case you missed it, your key contribution as a leader is to recruit and retain talent. Mission, vision, and values? Important. Systems, structures, and strategy? Also important.

But not as important as talent. You can have 90% margins—but without talent…

You can have iron-clad trademarks and a boatload of capital—but without talent…

You can have a highly-trafficked physical location or an enviable web domain—but without talent…

Talent that is better educated and skilled than you are.

Talent that is nimbler and more progressive in their thinking than you are.

Talent that is more demanding, has a higher quality standard, and possesses more curiosity than you are even demanding from yourself.

Talent is the new killer app, and you’re losing yours. Everyone is, because leaders are complacent.

Not in their recruitment—but in their retention. Retention of the talent they currently undervalue and under-develop.

Most of us understand the recruitment side of the equation and sadly, dangerously, stop there.

Like many relationships in life, we put them on autopilot and move on to other pressing needs.

This is what has happened during the past 18 months of this global pandemic. Everyone was held hostage in their careers by their employers, and as soon as some elasticity and confidence appeared with the economy and in the marketplace, people fled.

Why? Because loyalty is no longer a professional value held by most. I’m not attacking anyone’s character, so take a breath. I’m just stating a fact. Most professional colleagues I know have a strong list of criteria for their careers, and “loyalty” ranks high for fewer and fewer people. If any.

They value skill growth, flexibility, respect, opportunity, contribution, balance. Not loyalty.

Welcome to 2022 and beyond.

I counsel leaders literally hourly to ensure their leaders, at every level, are having proactive conversations with every single member of their teams. Conversations where they’re listening. Adapting. Changing. Reflecting.

Ensuring that to the best of their stretch abilities, they are creating a culture where team members choose to stay. And stay highly engaged.

Not because they’re loyal. But because their individual expressed needs are being met. Reasonably met.

Come to think of it—I’ve just also given some solid marriage or relationship advice.

To you and me.

The best leaders are curious. But they don’t just ask a lot of questions. They ask the right questions—the kind that focus their team’s brainpower on the right problems.

About the Author

Scott Miller

Scott Miller is a 25-year associate of FranklinCovey and serves as Senior Advisor, Thought Leadership. Scott hosts the world’s largest and fastest-growing podcast/newsletter devoted to leadership development, On Leadership. Additionally, Scott is the author of the multi-week Amazon #1 New Releases, Master Mentors: 30 Transformative Insights From Our Greatest Minds, Management Mess to Leadership Success: 30 Challenges to Become the Leader You Would Follow, and the Wall Street Journal bestseller, Everyone Deserves a Great Manager: The 6 Critical Practices for Leading a Team. He lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, with his wife and three sons.

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