Mar 8

Make It Work: Employer Branding IV – Retain Them!

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

What are you doing to retain those who are the best fitting people in your various business contexts? Those who are most promising with their potentials aligning to your strategy? After having identified them, how do you deal with various target groups, age groups, potential segments, and career paths? How do you do that in a framework of recession and short money especially when it comes to people development, perspectives and remuneration? How do you meet your employees´ expectations on a cultural basis of trust, respect, pride, resonance, belonging or/and balance?

On our way through the process of employer branding we now reach item 3.

3. Define a binding strategy

There are no general recipes except listening to your people and asking your people; except taking to every individual seriously, except granting every individual your full interest, your full empathy, your full acceptance, except getting a real, a honest contact.

This is all. And this is simple.

The rest will follow out of the dialogue you lead.




Well then, here might be a limit to pass, a comfort zone to leave, a perceptional landscape to widen up.

No rules. No measures. No categories.

Exactly, nothing of all of this, what we have learned in the business schools we visited. Of what seemingly gives us structure and system. – Objectivity. Wasn´t that the word?

Structure and system, processes and delegation, corporate identity and strategic framework are nothing as long as you and your managers do not have contact.

“Structure and system, processes and delegation, corporate identity and strategic framework are nothing as long as you and your managers do not have contact.”

And having a true, a real contact means admitting subjectivity, it means to go along with your people first and then, after you understood their viewpoints and development needs, ask them to join your strategic vision and to reach cascaded objectives. At first emotion, then content. First caring with your heart then caring with your mind.

This is very basic, when talking of a binding strategy, however overseen in most of the cases I know. And this is where you lose leadership and lose your people.

You might say, this is not a strategy how to retain top talent, how to retain the best, the most useful, the most fitting! How to win the war for talent by retaining people?

I say, it is. It is simply quite simple. It is simple to simply presume that your people know what they are doing because they are able to take responsibility for themselves and thus a bigger cause, for your cause.

Having contact means knowing your people.

You know them, because you informed yourself, because you showed true interest. It means that you know where your leadership is necessary and where it is not. You know with whom and where and when you should give up control. You put people first. And this is what people know of you. It is the path of tolerance, democracy and diversity. Knowing the needs and strengths of your people you know what you have to do to shape workplace programs which really align with your people´s hearts and minds – as well as your business strategy. Knowing people in this way means making them stay.

Having contact means growing your people.

Most people want to develop themselves. They want to learn and to experience personal progress on the platform you deliver with your business. Be a good director. Give them the roles they fit and which at the same time challenge them. Let them find their moment of excellence and the great experience working for your employer brand. This will find their commitment – and their loyalty. I will come back to this on one of  my next blogs.

Having contact means inspiring your people.

Inspiring people means to create a purpose. This was also point of discussion of Heinz Landau´s last blog. – Motivation has two time dimensions: a present one and a future one. Inspiration comes through a future goal which is more than just a figure, but a goal, which embodies meaning for life, for professional life. With a long-term and meaningful professional focus you connect emotional ties which are built to last.

Having contact means involving your people.

Here the present dimension of motivation is influencing your relationship with your people: what happens every day? Do people have positive experiences working for you? Does your employer brand provide fulfilling, involving and last not least motivating occasions? Do your employees know that they are acting for themselves when they are acting for you and your customers? If you want to involve and motivate people, you must communicate, you must be transparent and you must share knowledge. This is how you retain them.

Having contact means rewarding your people.

Fairness and competitiveness are the key words how to reward people. The reward starts the moment people notice that you perceive them – this is having contact – and then acknowledge what they achieved. Especially during recession appreciation of people is the core of binding those who run your business. A thank you or a verbal appraisal, they do not cost a cent. However: pay them well and above market average, if you want to motivate extrinsically.

I think, especially during recession and shrinking margins your way of making a contact through these five perspectives could work as a retention strategy – for all target or age groups, potential segments or career paths. They are almost always valuable.

They might even pass as a recipe how to create a binding strategy and how to lead by caring principles.

To get a deeper insight, I also recommend “Closing the Engagement Gap” by Julie Gebauer and Don Lowman.

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This entry was posted on Monday, March 8th, 2010 at 07:33 and is filed under Human Resources, Leadership, Marketing. 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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  1. All of it is very true. Not only for the best fitting people – for everyone within an organisation. If people do not “fit” very often you do not have contact, you do not value your people.
    In future we have to use the wisdom of the organization we are working with and along our supply chain.
    Values must be lived and not only be printed on broschures, so that you can skip them at the first crisis. Real leadership puts the human in the middle, uses the common intelligence and gives as much freedom as possible. There will be competition, but on a fair basis, openly and honest.
    Our world would be much better, if your way of doing business would become standard.
    Thanks for this blog
    Have a great time
    Michael Nothdurft

  2. Dear Mr. Nothdurft, I take your contribution as a sign of mutual resonance and will continue on this path. I appreciate it. Stephan Polomski