Retained Interest

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May 2011

Retained Interest
It was five years ago on an interactive teleconference about talent acquisition and retention that I heard an unidentified voice say, “I don’t care who they are, I want to find out if they’re interested in the business before I ever introduce them to the job”. His statement was one of those instant bell-ringers for me. The first and best talent acquisition/retention strategy is to determine if the candidate for employment or promotion is actually naturally interested in the business.

As simple as it seems, there is profound wisdom in determining whether the candidate for your employ or promotion has a passion for your business, the industry and the work it requires. You can teach job functions and you can upskill your people for performance, but you cannot make a person passionate for the business and its mission. Can you realistically expect an employee or leader in your organization to be engaged if they first do not possess an appetite for the business, the industry and its work?

As the economy continues to improve, many who have remained in their positions, “cocooning” in safe harbor will begin to look elsewhere. According to a new study by Deloitte titled, Talent Edge 2020: Building the Recovery Together – What Talent Expects and How Leaders Are Responding, almost two out of three (65%) employees are “actively testing the job market”. Although various factors are the causation of this “shopping”, it’s fair to say some people are in positions in organizations today with a low appetite for the business.

A few years ago I was engaged in a coaching assignment with a well regarded leader at a medical device manufacturer. We were discussing her results of an interest inventory I had administered. As she was reading some of the findings, she began to laugh. And laugh. The next thing out of her mouth was compelling. She announced to me, “I’m not interested in my job!” At first I thought she might be taking issue with the instrument’s findings. As her laughter had begun to move toward a few tears, it became obvious that we had hit some sort of bull’s-eye. Although the focus of our coaching engagement was not related to her career satisfaction and productivity, over the course of a few months the organization was able to move her to another area, enabling her to increase her contribution as well as her satisfaction and engagement.

Intentionally assessing the interest(s) of those who move both into and up in your organization is a key talent retention and productivity strategy. And strategically speaking, identifying what interest groups are present in your organization better helps you get a clearer picture of who your stronger fits really are as you seek to bring them in, retain them and move them up.


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