Oct 6

Retaining the Talent of Our Future

Stephan Polomski
Stephan Polomski is director human resources, coach and trainer

Recession and world-wide crisis especially in the automotive sector turned HR-priorities in many mainly medium-sized companies upside down. Where there was still twelve months ago that fierce need for engineers, there is today the concern to engage and retain employees which had been recruited in a real war for talent.

Currently reflecting opportunities and threats for a HR-strategy 2010, I think, in such a structural framework it might be wise to focus HR-activities on engagement and retention. And that means nothing else but care for those who came to stay and to build up or to continue their career together with the company whose employer brand they granted trust and high expectations.

In the Swabian culture-context, which is shaped by big employers like Daimler, Porsche and Bosch, who are also my company´s competitors in job market, it means for the employer branding of medium-sized organizations:

-          To care for fair and appropriate, competitive and performance oriented remuneration

-          To care for interesting work contents fitting talents as well as personal development objectives

-          To care for personal opportunity growth by professional and leadership development

-          To care for positive working experiences in a culture of concern, trust, respect and direct personal communication

I suppose, these items are true for all generations medium-sized companies employ. I am, for example, one of the oldest with 46 years, a representative of the so-called baby boomers. And I would go for it. And I heard from my younger and young colleagues, that these items are crucial for them as well.

Our younger work force – which for the first time experienced a recession with its dramatic consequences – was at the first moment shocked seeing colleagues to be victim of the economical and financial crisis. Especially for the younger crowd in their twenties, the crisis provokes bitter experiences even among engineers: many of them find themselves unable to get their foot in the door of a new employment in order to get valuable working experience. Those who have a job – and some of them may undergo short time work – have a difficult time to stay in a positive state of mind in a period in which the concrete activity of the moment is gone while at the same time the purpose of middle and long term perspectives is fading away.

Especially here a direct and personal leadership communication is needed: this is what I mean with concern. What I hear of our young colleagues is a longing to celebrate life and to build up an own family in order to create a very personal sense of belonging. In a second rank it is important to our younger crowd to develop their career especially by working embedded in a team or in the organizational community. In the working context, there is a great sense for flexibility on the one hand and on the other hand the need for balance and private time. The possibility to test cars in Europe or overseas is very much welcomed as well as socializing and having fun during the travels.

“What I furthermore perceive among the young generation of employees is a great sense for responsibility towards the team and towards society.”

What I furthermore perceive among the young generation of employees is a great sense for responsibility towards the team and towards society.During occasions of direct communication – for example, when conducting our regular HR-Talk – I receive not only an insight into the emotional reality of our young (and senior) staff but also into their way of perceiving our company´s business reality. This is how we get access to an informal input and at the same time a feedback how we as leaders can show respect by listening to one of our main group of stakeholders.

As recognition and development are essential, I think, it might be advisable to start a mentoring program during which our trained senior leaders are taking care of our potentials during their leadership curriculum. Reflecting on engagement and retention, I want to make the following items key issues to retain young potentials and therewith showing caring leadership:

-          by letting them stay in direct contact with specific managers they themselves choose as their mentors

-          by building up new team of young leaders and experts staying together in a team during the leadership curriculum

-          by integrating their social network

-          by asking and responding to their individual needs and circumstances like job sharing, sabbaticals, home office, part-time-jobs, flexible working hours, considering work-life-balance

Among my young colleagues, I find a great sense for responsibility, for integrity and for collaboration. I find them socially aware with a high standard of ethical values. They merit concern and development – and, first of all: opportunities.

Last weekend I was talking to a senior entrepreneur in South Tyrol who in course of some decades successfully ran a family business and is now retiring from active management. He told me, that youth is our future and that we have to listen and to give way to their beliefs and their ways of doing as they are the ones who shape our future.

And his words echo in my mind when reflecting on engaging retaining this young generation. It is retaining our future.

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This entry was posted on Tuesday, October 6th, 2009 at 20:07 and is filed under Human Resources. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

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