The best business leaders understand that one of the secrets to success is retaining and managing top talent. There’s a lot of information that you can read about this topic, but in my experience, I’ve been able to boil this done to just three elements.
I’ve been in business for decades and have the opportunity to reach the highest levels of leadership at multi-national companies, founded and grew a nonprofit to a multi-million organization, and now for more fun, I’m the owner of multiple companies and at least eight brands. I’m not looking for a pat on the back, although that’s always good for the ego. The reason I’m telling you all about my background is because I know a thing or two about what drives people.
I’m fortunate to work with an excellent team, and I have a leadership group that I wouldn’t change. Several of those members have been working with me for years from one chapter to another in the story of my professional life. Sure, some of the hires I’ve done have not always worked out for the best, but more often than not, I’ve managed to strike the right partnership because of three realities that I’m going to share with you now. I’ve even coined a term for it: “Three M’s for Talent Management.”
When you’re looking at your team, the first “M” you have to look at for managing top talent is motivation. Here’s the deal, if you have people working at your offices, the likelihood is that they’re spending a great deal of their week in your environment. Creating a vibrant, fun and engaging place to work helps the desire for people to want to be in the space you create.
I’m not telling you to do it without doing it myself. If you walk through our offices, my vice president for operations, executive vice president and I have paid attention to every detail to make sure that all the members of our team members feel that they are entering a space that is conducive to work in what I call a real, relevant and engaging environment. The color scheme, photographic images, and office layout all speak to our brand and who we are as a company, which always striving for excellence. It’s also a place where people, our team members and other, enjoy and feel comfortable walking through and working in.
Retaining and managing talent, especially the best talent involves money. An often-cited study by Daniel Kahneman and Angus Deaton found that the emotional well-being of workers increases until someone is earning $75,000. That seems to be the magic number before people begin to focus on other elements of work for their well-being, including flexibility, challenging work, etc.
I’m an entrepreneur who also knows that pay has to be balanced with the profits of a business. Therefore, one of the best things you can do when you’re looking at paying people is to figure out incentive pay plans. The more your team succeeds, the higher their individual and, perhaps, group or team wages can increase. Whatever it is that you decide, don’t miss the main point that money definitely motivates people. Always remember to think carefully, especially when you do your annual financial planning.
Finally, the third essential element for success is momentum. People want to be a part of something bigger than themselves and being a player in a team that is winning is a great motivator. Make it a point to have your team be part of something that they can understand beyond the scope of their job. As an example, we use Slack, which provides our team members to have exposure to all areas of our different brands and companies to see what’s happening in other departments or places they might not interact with daily.
In a world that is increasingly filled with technology allowing your team to communicate cross-brands, departments, and work-teams, using collaboration tools, such as Slack, will enable you to help foster an environment where every member of your team can see the momentum that’s happening for your company. And, using these technological tools will help you tap into those characteristics which are human, such as creativity, passion and drive to excel.
Those who know me, understand that I’m always saying that one of the most significant assets my business has is its talent. And, if you work in my company, you’ll also understand that our managers are always asking what they need to get the job done. I know that losing talented people costs my businesses more than retaining them and keeping motivation, money and momentum top of mind helps me maintain the best people not for months, but for years.