Finding and keeping the best talent in the world

Paul Robinson Management Insights on Hiring and Retaining Best Talent

One of the greatest challenges for employers the world over is locating, hiring, and retaining employees who bring highly productive value to their companies, and organizations. In this era of innovation great talent is always in shortage. There is literally a war on talent. The fact of the matter is that your company is only as good as its most talented people.

Average talent is buyers market but great talent is a sellers market. People with the right combination of talent, skills, passions, values can afford to shop around for the right place to work.  Researches have also shown that an exceptionally talented employee is ten times more productive than the average employee. Therefore there is a constant demand for rising stars who are in short supply.

According to an HBR study, talented superstars have three major attributes among others. They are: ability, engagement, and aspiration. Smart employers look for these spikes and talented employees develop them to stay competitive.


Ability is the set of competencies of a candidate that includes all kinds of skills that include technical, people skills and life skills both innate and learned to handle increasingly complex challenges. Companies are attracted to talents with exceptional combination of skills and competencies. What keeps the talent in an organization is the opportunity to use their abilities and improve their capabilities everyday at work. There should be enough challenges at work that stimulate their talent and creativity to stretch them to be better. Adding an environment that encourages learning and development also meet the needs of a talent to grow in an organization.


Engagement is the level of personal connection and commitment the employee feels toward the firm and its mission. The best people want to be part of something they can believe in, something that brings meaning to their work and their lives- something that involves a purpose bigger than themselves and their individual success.

Purpose gives people the reason why they do what they do. As an employer you’ll need to provide the “why” for people who demand social and principled “reasons” for trading their time and talent. Paycheck is not the only reason why great talents choose an organization over another.

Apart from purpose, in order to engage emotionally in an organization, employees also seek clarity on four important questions: Where is the company headed?, What are we doing to get there?, What do you want me to do?, What’s in it for me when I do it?.

Answers to these four questions give them the clarity about organizational goals, outcomes, objectives, tasks, responsibilities, compensation plan and incentives.

To increase engagement, great companies invest in the emotional equity of its people. A great work culture that is fun, collaborative and free from politics is a great place to work. A survey by WorkLife Design showed that 80% of people see work environment as the most important aspect when choosing a company to work for, 56% said flexible benefits were crucial, and only 34% mentioned pay as the decisive factor.

Again, just being satisfied at job will not be the only reason for talents to stick on with a company. It’s important to ask your employees hypothetically a question:“What would cause you to take a job with another company tomorrow?” This query prompts people to share their underlying criteria for job satisfaction and to list which of those elements are missing in your company.


Finally, employee aspiration plays an important role in loyalty to an organization. Aspiration is different for different people and it’s not easy to measure as always.

The desire for recognition, advancement in career, and future rewards can’t be easily understood by an employer. Therefore it’s better to ask the straight questions and figure out what the employees think. Questions such as: How far do you hope to rise in the company? How quickly? How much recognition would be optimal? How much money? And so on. 

It’s important to understand your employee’s dreams and aspirations and learn how they are aligned to organizational growth plan or expansion. To understand your people managers and leaders must ask them what makes them happy, what makes them sad and what do the dream about. It’s a great tip given by John C Maxwell.

Probably, the most difficult task for businesses today is to keep hold of the best professionals out there, and it is projected that it will get even harder in the future, when the competition to keep the best of the best increases even more.

It has been proven that by retaining the best people, an organization can increase its profits up to 50%. 

Therefore the most successful companies will be the ones able to keep their best people; their leadership capabilities and management expertise will become as crucial for success as their products and services are. Hire the best and retain the best. Remember, if you are the leader of an organization, your job is not to build the business; your actual job is to build the right people who can build your business.

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