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TalentCulture | October 20, 2014

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Talent Engagement: 5 Keys That Engage Employees

Talent Engagement: 5 Keys That Engage Employees
Tim Wright
  • On August 5, 2014
  • http://wrightresults.com
Tim Wright
by
August 5, 2014

“Talent engagement” and “employee engagement” are distinctly related phrases.

Talent engagement means bringing on board the talent desired. Employee engagement means workers’ emotional and intellectual investment in their work and their company.

A company wants to engage true talent so it can maintain true employee engagement. The simple view: talent engagement leads to employee engagement. The complex view: employee engagement contributes to ongoing talent engagement.

Here are five distinct Talent Engagement Keys to improve a business’s talent engagement strategy. I encourage you to follow the link associated with each Talent Engagement Key. There’s a great deal of support information out there.

Talent Engagement Key 1: Define Talent

Your company wants to hire talent. Does your company know exactly, specifically what talent means? Know your specific meaning of “talent.” Make the time to define, detail, and document the talent(s) you look for when hiring. Go beyond just labeling the talents. What does “leadership” mean? What are the attributes of a good “communicator”? How does a “team player” play?  The more members of your leadership/management team you engage in this Key, the more concrete your ideas and ideals of talent become. That makes it easier to spot the talent when it comes for an interview.

Talent Engagement Key 2: Build Strong Employer Brand

People want to work for a company that is a good employer. Build a strong employer brand. If it’s already strong, be sure everyone is clear about its strength. Employer brand is based on company culture, people treatment, benefits and perks, workplace and work environment. Easier to attract and hire a talented candidate who wants to work for you. Easier to have them want to work for you if you pay attention to what’s working for current employees. And if you remedy what is not working. This is an easy area in which to coast, especially once you’ve hit a high mark. The effort to become ever-better is worth the time and energy. Look. Ask. Listen. Change.

Talent Engagement Key 3: Make Time to Lead People

Make time to lead people. Plenty of evidence supports that people stay at work (or leave it) due to their manager. Typically more influential than pay, benefits, job requirements, working conditions, and advancement opportunities is time with one’s manager. A manager who leads the employees makes time to talk with them, to listen to them, to share expectations and clarifications. A manager who leads does more than give orders. A manager who leads always has time for conversation, time to hear concerns and suggestions, time to offer praise. You’ll want candidates with talent to talk to your current people. The more their conversation reflects “leaders who make time“, the more attractive to the candidate.

Talent Engagement Key 4: Be Conversational

Hold conversations, not communications. People talk to one another. That previous Key is about making time for conversation. This Key is about respectful conversation. Conversation should be collaborative rather than confrontational. A lot more can be accomplished when the intention of the conversation is accomplishment rather than victory. It’s often more important that the manager listen to the question than give a good answer. The expression on one’s face can say “I’m paying attention” in an instant. And paying attention is showing respect. Respect is the foundation of every relationship that works. Make time–and conversation–to discover what are the elements of fruitful conversation.

Talent Engagement Key 5: Train Resilience

Always reinforce resilience. “It” happens. And it usually happens by surprise. The bounce back factor, aka resilience, is needed at those times. Whether it’s the economy, the industry, the competition, the customers, the product, the vendors or any combination thereof, you want your employees to rise to the crisis resiliently. You can hire resilient people. But resilience is like physical fitness: if you don’t work to retain it, it doesn’t stick around. You want processes and programs that constantly build and sharpen skills, update key information, maintain high quality and efficiency. These keep your employees resilient. A resilient workforce definitely attracts talented newcomers.

Any one of these Talent Engagement Keys will improve a company’s ability to hire powerful candidates. Two will do more; all five may blow the lid off talent engagement. And the more talent a business engages, the more engaged the employees become…and stay.

(About the Author: As an Employee Engagement and Performance Improvement expert, Tim Wright, has worked with businesses and national associations of all sizes. His company, Wright Results, offers proven strategies and techniques to help businesses increase employee engagement, improve personnel performance and build a strong business culture by focusing on performance management from the C.O.R.E. For more information, visit www.wrightresults.com or connect with Tim here: tim@wrightresults.com)

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  • http://www.scribd.com/TerrenceGargiulo Terrence Gargiulo

    Thanks for a good article full of solid reminders and keys. I am especially partial to Key #4: Conversations. The shortest distance between two people is a story. When companies craft engagement strategies they often overlook story-based communication strategies for catalyzing people.

  • Competency Toolkit

    These are all great points Tim, thank you for sharing. There’s a lot of talk in the blogosphere about employee engagement, but little discussion on talent engagement. The distinction yet relation between talent engagement and employee engagement is completely true, and talent engagement cannot be ignored. If done right, organizations can develop a successful cycle of talent engagement leading to employee engagement and vice versa. We have a great appreciation for key #1, having found that this is the first failure point for many organizations. Having an unclear, subjective definition of talent and successful performance leads to the talent management challenges that many organizations face (e.g., bad hires, subjective performance reviews, improper coaching & training).