TalentHow to ensure the most talented stay in your business

How to ensure the most talented stay in your business

There has been increasing pressure put on businesses to retain their best talent. How can business leaders do this in dynamic and disruptive times? Talent expert Jo Taylor provides her thoughts...

An often challenge for leaders today is to retain their best employees. There is an increasing pressure to ensure that the most talent stays within a business. Studies by Perkbox found that over a third of employees are likely to leave their jobs within one year. This figure increases down the generations, with 49% of millennials identifying as likely to move company – or quit outright – within a year. Consequently, businesses must find a way to ensure that the most talented stay through various strategies and processes. 

To find out more about talent, HRD Connect spoke to talent expert Jo Taylor, Global Director of Talent & OD, Let’s Talk Talent.


“A leaders job is not to do the work for others, its to help others figure out how to do it themselves…to succeed beyond what they thought possible.” Simon Sinek

Particularly relevant when we think about the reasons why people work today, a study by HBR in 2018 talked about the 3 C’s go what people really want from the world of work, in this article it says that they are Career, Community & Cause. I am going to focus purely on career for talent retention. 

When I look back on my career and now my role as MD of Let’s Talk Talent the main themes of how we engage, empower our people to stay in our organisation has hardly changed, but what is different is that brands have less “pulling power” and have to work harder than ever before. I truly believe that everyone has potential and therefore I could waffle on about only focusing on your most talented as they will bring you more financial or cultural return. But for me that is short-sighted and actually, we should focus on the “Talented Many” not just the exceptional few.

In today’s business environment, change is a constant and organisations are faced with increasing levels of complexity, ambiguity and fluidity in everything they do. Workforce demographics, globalisation and new flexible ways of working mean that identifying and retaining the best talent is a dynamic process.

Organisations are looking towards a future in which they need to be agile and innovative to attract and retain the best people. Unlocking organisations people potential has moved up the agenda but it’s in need of a makeover for the new world of work. Traditional succession planning processes are static solutions that are no longer fit for purpose and lack the agility to flex with business plans. Models that focus on high performance in current roles do not necessarily predict potential, learning agility or the ability to take on complexity which is needed to embrace the future of work. Employees are looking for more from personal development and are not necessarily looking for a linear path to the top.

One way that we have worked most recently with Kings College was to focus on defining the career pathways that people could explore across Professional services but also in upskilling their managers with the practical tools and techniques to work with their teams in supporting and coaching them to figure out their career goals and what they need to do to achieve them.  

As a manager, it is so important to take opportunities in either formal 1-1 conversations or more casual check in’s to provide the join up between the career pathways available in your area and your people’s individual experience, skills and opportunities.

 If you think about it, most people’s career aspirations can be summed up as being one of the following:

 “I want to give the best performance in my job”– so you’re happy doing your current role as well as you can.

‘I want to develop new skills”– you’re not completely sure what you want to do, but know you want to branch out and make yourself better.

“I want to explore new opportunities across the universe” – you fancy a change, a new challenge to move you away from the job you’re doing now.

Therefore if you want people to stay then your role as an HRD is to provide that join up whether that is across your L&D programmes but also in your performance, reward and recognition initiatives.

In a candidate-driven market it is more important than ever to look at all aspects of your employee journey so as to ensure that there is clarity but also congruence internally and externally so people understand not only what they need to contribute, why it is important personally and professionally and finally how this will be rewarded and recognised.

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