Are talented people retained by companies?

Some days ago I had a nice conversation about talented people and how they are treated by companies. After more than an hour talking about different experiences, I realized that in many cases these precious elements are not retained inside an organization and neither treated properly. Too often they are “obliged” to leave or even fired.

During my career I have faced many situations in which really valid people haven’t been considered in a proper way, myself included, and assigned to different tasks, 99% of the cases below their possibilities. The reasons why this happened were and still are many, I’ll try to synthesize them in the most effective way. Let’s see four examples.

retainLet’s talk about company restructuring, I’ve been involved in many of them. People are “mapped” in their positions and treated as numbers. Once the board decide the shape of the new company they start to move or cut people. Unfortunately almost never there is time enough and prepared HR able to select the right people for the right place and finally the results are really poor. I think many friends of mine know what I mean. Again, one of the worst enemies in this situation is time. Organizations must be reshaped in a very short time and this of course doesn’t help.

Another example is related to companies where the management and sometimes the board too, don’t want to be “menaced” by skilled people. It seems a joke but unfortunately is not. It is really depressing  to see that managers who could be really supported by those people, think that they could loose their position because of them. One of the most important thing I’ve learned during some management courses was the importance to have skilled people in your team and the fact that you can ascend most rapidly in your career thanks to that.  A strong, prepared and skilled team is a key to success.

Lack of meritocracy is finally the third reason. This is a general issue that you can find also in the previous examples, is part of the problem. Quite often people really prepared are not considered because they are not “supported” by someone with power inside the organization or again, HR is not able to identify them or evaluating them properly.  This situation causes a big loss of skilled people and who remains in the company works less because under-motivated.

“Old Fashioned management”. Be careful I’m not saying “old” management. I’m absolutely convinced that is a matter of mindset. I met people really older that me but more “up to date” on technology and innovation! Many times we meet people that it seems they are leaving like 15 years ago. Totally indifferent to what is asking the market, firmly convinced that they are gurus on his own competencies and you must accept what they tell you. This, as a matter of fact, is a huge problem and a big obstacle if you would like to be competitive in the market.  Strongly affects skilled people willing to give they full support for busting business and make organizations successful.

So, I think the previous points can arise good discussions and hopefully some readers of mine could also share some comments on that. To be honest there are many other reasons that influence negatively the life of talented people into an organization but I think the ones I mentioned represent a good part of them.

In order to reach a conclusion I must say that lack of meritocracy and poor retention rate is for me a characteristic quite present in Europe and for my experience in Italy and Spain is quite common.  I have been working inside many organizations and I must say that some elements concurring into bad performance are quite always related to what I just described before.

I really do hope that in the future companies could pay more attention on retaining their best employees. There are many ways to do it: developing expectations and make people think that they are REALLY part of the organization.

Talented people represent the highest value for companies and absolutely the best way to be present and successful in the future.


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