We're all learning machines

23 april 2018

For this week’s #ConnectWithContent, we dive into the importance of learning as a key driver for nurturing and retaining your top talent and rising stars within your workforce.

Talent Marketing

If you want to be successful as an organization, you need the right people. Agree? No wonder lots of time, money and energy is invested in attracting, proactive recruiting and talent pooling as an answer to a hiring market that becomes more competitive every year.  

And because candidates don’t apply for a job anymore but for a talent brand, the EVP, company mission and employer branding becomes crucial. Still agree? Relying on the best candidates to apply organically is no longer a recipe for success. Talent marketing is! As well as leveraging social networking in order to expand talent pools and pipelines. As the war for talent continues, talent acquisition is about managing both active and passive candidates.

 But it’s not just about getting the right people on the bus though,
it’s also about keeping those right people on your bus.

It‘s not just about talent acquisition, it’s just as much about talent retention: failing to retain your top performers is costly to the bottom line, it means training time and investment wasted not to mention (tacit) knowledge that is lost, insecure coworkers left behind and a costly new candidate search as the icing on your ‘talent’ cake.

 We like you right where you are…

There are lots of potential reasons why people leave your bus. Employees leave their boss, their colleagues, but also because their hunger for knowledge and growth is not satisfied. BTW: Did you know that a key driver for people to turn to freelancing is their eagerness to learn?

 People seek to use their talent and skills in the workplace.

Motivated people want to contribute, also to work areas outside of their specific job description. Imagine the possibilities if you know their skills, talent, and experience and take the time to tap into it. 

Top performers consistently bring their best game to work until they feel the need for a new challenge in order to keep learning. If you want that top performer to stay in your company, it is key to encourage him/her and to help find a new challenge within your company. Instead, lots of ‘great bosses’ just want to keep things as they are which for them is easier, but this comes with an enormous cost: top performers become disengaged and will leave your company. And if they don’t walk out physically, for sure they will check out mentally…

 When people aren’t allowed to grow,
they begin to feel that they don’t matter.

How to overcome?

It starts with recognizing that every single person is on a learning curve and every role has a shelf life. Starting a new position comes with new challenges and after some time people become confident and competent until they reach the level of mastery. And then the learning curve starts to flatten. Four years appears to be the maximum learning curve for most people in most positions. For some it will be less, for other it will be more…

In order to address the needs of learnatics, companies offer targeted leadership-development opportunities such as business rotations or ‘stretch assignments’. But despite the prevalence of these programs, lots of them end in failure and companies end up with a shortfall in their talent pipeline after all. Because senior managers tend to make misguided assumptions about their top performers and take actions on their behalf that actually hinder instead of encourage their development. Be sure to read this article if you want to learn more on why lots of leadership-development programs fail...

Learn - leap - repeat

Our brains always want to be learning, and give us feel-good feedback when we are. When we aren’t, we don’t feel so good. The human brain is designed to learn throughout our entire life span.

 When we are learning, we experience higher levels of brain activity
and many feel-good brain chemicals are produced.
Managers would do well to remember that.

Every organization is a collection of people on different learning curves. If you want to build a top performing team you need to optimize their individual curves and encourage them to jump when they reach the level of mastery. This is a recipe for a company full of engaged people.

 We are all learning machines. We all want to learn, leap, and repeat.

For this weekly LinkedIn publish we found our inspiration in these three articles: (1) How to lose your best employees (2) how to keep your top talent and (3) top ways to retain your great employees.

Talk to you next week...

PS: There are a lot of great talks on Life Long Learning online, one of out favorites is this one by Ben Dunlap, it becomes good as from minute 5/6.

Have a great week! 


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