Attracting and Retaining Top Talents

I have read several articles that mentioned "Talent Acquisition" has become a hot topic in HR and it will be on CEOs' agenda in the next decade. One of the main reasons is the growing mismatch between the large number of people retiring in the next few years and the number of new people entering the work-force. According to Business 2.0 magazine, for every two baby boomers who retire in the next decade, there will only be one college grad to take their place. But attracting them is only half the battle, it is also very important retain them by fostering an environment in which people are inspired to achieve their fullest potential. Here is an excerpt from the article "Leading Clever People" in the recent Harvard Business Review:

Seven Things You Need to Know about Clever People

1. They know their worth. The tacit skills of clever people are closer to those of medieval guilds than to the standardized, codifiable, and communicable skills that characterized the Industrial Revolution. This means you can’t transfer the knowledge without the people.

2. They are organizationally savvy. Clever people will find the company context in which their interests will be most generously funded. If the funding dries up, they have a couple of options: They can move on to a place where resources are plentiful, or they can dig in and engage in elaborate politics to advance their pet projects.

3. They ignore corporate hierarchy. If you seek to motivate clever people with titles or promotions, you will probably be met with cold disdain. But don’t assume this means they don’t care about status; they can be very particular about it, and may insist on being called “doctor” or “professor.”

4. They expect instant access. If clever people don’t get access to the CEO, they may think the organization does not take their work seriously.

5. They are well connected. Clever people are usually plugged into highly developed knowledge networks; who they know is often as important as what they know. These networks both increase their value to the organization and make them more of a flight risk.

6. They have a low boredom threshold. In an era of employee mobility, if you don’t engage your clever people intellectually and inspire them with organizational purpose, they will walk out the door.

7. They won’t thank you. Even when you’re leading them well, clever people will be unwilling to recognize your leadership. Remember, these creative individuals feel that they don’t need to be led. Measure your success by your ability to remain on the fringes of their radar.

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