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Keeping Your Talented People by Brian Chernett

Brian Chernett

Brian Chernett

Having the right people ‘on the bus’ (as Jim Collins would put it) is crucial to the success of any business. So how is it that some businesses seem to have the right people and hold on to them talented people and others simply do not?

If you stay positive and look for opportunities, maybe you can become one of those with a top performing team. There will be some really capable and talented people coming onto the job market over the coming months. Moreover, they will be actively (and in some cases perhaps even desperately) looking for full or part time work. Grab them if you can and augment your current team. If necessary replace a ‘5, 6 or 7′ with a ’10’ (something you probably always wanted to do, but in a full employment market, that’s been very difficult indeed)

Having found good people and gone through the often expensive recruitment process, it makes sense to hang on to them. Talented people become an asset to the business and make it easier to find new customers or clients. Maybe they have a following of their own that would leave with them if they should leave you. They are a risk as well as an asset.

Always remember that your employees have a choice. They can choose to apply all of their effort and talent to the job they do for you or they can choose not to. A lot depends on their job satisfaction and on how you choose to motivate and incentivise them.

You should pay them what they are worth but motivation isn’t just about money. In fact it is mostly not about money. Whilst paying too little may be a de-motivator, paying more money isn’t usually a motivator. Frederick Herzberg came up with the theory that there are factors that cause dissatisfaction and factors that create satisfaction. Money causes dissatisfaction if it is not adequate but adds nothing to satisfaction once adequacy is reached. It is a hygiene factor.

So what factors create satisfaction? For Herzberg they are achievement, recognition, the work itself, responsibility, advancement and growth. My own experience bears this out. You need to create an environment in which people can thrive. Becoming a world-class employer is about creating a place where employee views are listened to and respected, where there is transparency in the decision making process and where bullying and unfair treatment of employees is not tolerated. If people feel safe and valued, they are more creative and innovative, adding to the value of the business for customers and shareholders alike.

You can easily recognise a productive workplace – it is the one where the people look and act as though they are enjoying being there.

Brian Chernett is founder of The Academy for Chief Executives (ACE) – He has 43 years’ experience as managing director of private and public companies, including subsidiaries of Booker Bros McConnell, the Landmark Group, and several other major companies. Find out more at
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