Retaining Innovative Talent


Leadership Development: How to attract and retain innovative talent at an enterprise

Chris Galy | Moves the NeedleOctober 9, 2018

 By Chris Galy, HR Executive Advisor, Moves the Needle


Every organization's "greatest asset" is also its most underutilized.  

Of course, I am referring to the people.

The very phrase "Our People Are Our Greatest Asset" rolls off the tongues of CEOs and top leaders so easily that it has become cliche. It’s become just another of those obligatory corporate catch phrases to say in every all-hands meeting and quarterly analyst call.

Not to be overly cynical, but what usually comes next is pretty predictable - statements about how culture is a competitive advantage.  

But how can “culture” be a competitive advantage if virtually every company says they strive to build a strong company culture powered by customer-focus, innovation, transparency, or any number of other “differentiating” core values?

The truth is, an organisation's -- and by extension, an employee's -- ability to learn, and translate insight into action rapidly, is today’s ultimate competitive advantage. How organizations structure work and define jobs is evolving rapidly, so focusing on a new employee mindset offers both organisations and workers flexibility and adaptability to the ever changing work landscape.  

As employers, we must not only support building this new mindset - we must also create the workplace environment where people are empowered to deploy it.


Navigating The War for Talent

Although unleashing employee potential is front of mind for many of today’s organisations, we are just seeing the tip of the employee utilisation iceberg.

When we get to the point where we can truly harness the whole of our workforce's collective talents, then the statement - “our people are our greatest asset” - will become real.

Over the last fifteen years, many companies have made a significant amount of progress in how they treat their people. We have seen new employee-centric organisational models like Google, Facebook, Zappos, SAS, Intuit and Red Hat, set the tone for what kind of culture an employee should expect.

The war for talent has created a competitive atmosphere in which many CEOs and founders must think about things like culture and attractability, much more seriously. Their intentions are to build flatter organisations, “entrepreneurial” cultures, recruit and retain the best talent, and offer strong incentives to keep employees from thinking about anything other than delivering value.


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Lauren Scalora