How To Win The Talent War - Part II
To lure, snare, or even grab the best talents in the market, organizations must develop their own strategies in attracting, developing, utilizing, and retaining these talents. A good strategy must, by necessity, take into account what the talent wants. An attractive compensation package will naturally interest a talent into joining an organization, but that is not all that he needs to stay committed and productive in an organization. Indeed, there is more to it than money!
Talents Want to Join a Winning Organization
Indeed, everybody loves a winner, nobody wants a loser. If you want to attract talents, make your organization a winning organization. Winning does not always mean having the highest revenues, growth, or profitability. Many organizations are winners in their own right. Choose a value proposition that you can promise your customers, and then make good your promise. You can choose form among product leadership, cost-effectiveness or customer intimacy.
Winning organizations have a culture of winning. The moment an organization tolerates losing, it begins to breed mediocrity. Talents do not want to join a mediocre organization.
Some organizations believe that winning is a core value. When Mario Nery was the head of the Magnolia Division in San Miguel (before Magnolia was sold to Nestle), the organization truly internalized its winning ways – in the market, in inter-division sports competitions, in every conceivable way. Nery would say a lot of times,
“Winning is not the most important thing – it is the only thing.”
Cypress, a leading global semiconductor company, has enshrined winning its first core value.
“Cypress is about winning!”
This core value is a constant reminder to all employees what they are supposed to do. Cypress does not tolerate losing, and therefore, it does not tolerate mediocrity. Cypress CEO T.J. Rodgers in USA, as well as Cypress Manufacturing Limited (Philippines) President Don Mika, are great epitomes of winners. Their direct reports like Bong Leal, Tess Tongco, and Edna Cuyo are winners, too. The culture of winning has become a way of life in Cypress.
Talents Want to Know Where you are Going
Talents will continually ask their leaders, “Where are we going? What are the indicators that we have successfully achieved our goals?” You just can’t lure talents into an organization that does not know where it is headed. Directions, vision, and goals that are challenging enough will entice talents to join and stay on in your journey. Fuzzy, tentative, fluid, moving targets and constantly changing directions and goals will not excite talents.
Great organizations have clear vision-mission-values-goals (VMVG) statements. Vision is a snapshot of the kind of future that the leader wants for his organization. The leader drives the vision of the organization, but the talents must be able to identify with and believe in that vision so that they will be one with the organization, stay committed, and contribute to the realization of that vision.
Vision is a powerful tool. It works for nations, as well as for organizations and individuals, especially in times of adversity. Viktor Frankl wrote how he saw himself and other people survived the holocaust. To him, those who survive are those who have visions of “having something significant yet to do in the future.” The Bible also tells us that people perish for lack of vision.
Talents Want to Know How They can Contribute
Successful people have a strong need for achievement. To some, the achievement is the reward itself. Talents will want to join an organization where opportunities for significant contributions spring and abound. They want to build a good track record, and leave a legacy they can call their own. They want to make a difference and not just be another face in the crowd. High performers want challenges, stretched goals, and opportunities to do things never done before. They would want to find better ways of doing things. They prefer trailblazing, doing developmental rather than simply routine or maintenance jobs.
In many organizations there are people who do not seem to care. They are just “putting in time for a cheque at the end of the month.” Somebody mused that if you could go back and observe them when they were first starting a new job, you would never see that lack of commitment. I think people lose their commitment only after they realize that good performance does not make a difference anyway.
We learned that, according to McGregor’s Theory Y, people are generally good and want to contribute their best. If your talents are not contributing much to the organization, there could be a number of reasons. If the problem is skill, then training is the solution. If the problem is attitude, no amount of training will help, because attitude problems are best dealt with discipline. Some leaders are using training and discipline interchangeably and are not getting the best from their talents.
When you ask for so-so performance from your talents, you get just that. When you expect great performance, you also get it. There is a self-fulfilling prophecy in the workplace, as once Pygmallion expected his creation Galatea to have life.
Talents Take Risks with Equitable Payoffs
High risk, high pay talents are comfortable with that. When you “up the ante”, they feel more motivated to take risks and perform best. To some extent, they are adventurous and will try to reach greater heights in performance.
Good talents will not wallow in their comfort zone. They thrive on pressure, as long as there are commensurate payoffs for the results they produce. They will accept “pay at risk” and will work at deserving that pay.
Today’s talents are more motivated by contingent compensation. Everybody would want high salaries, but there are those who will work on producing extraordinary results with the promise of an extraordinary reward. The basic pay may be small, but great bonuses that come with successful accomplishment of a task, project or critical performance indicator will spur talents to work hard. The young talents in today’s workplace will not be attracted to join a large company that offers great pension plans. Retirement is far from their minds. What is important is a lot of cash that comes as a reward for successful performance. Young talents need a great TACC (total annual cash compensation), even if most of it is performance bonus, to help them sustain a lifestyle associated with success.