Issues facing the business world today are not a direct cause of the COVID-19 pandemic, but it is fair to say that the pandemic accelerated their progression. Presently, the issue at hand is how to retain and develop the top talent at an organization. As we have seen this year, record numbers of people have left their jobs. Making significant headlines in April was the nearly 4 million Americans who quit their jobs. Based on information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, July is closing in on that April record. 

This highlights the need to ensure that top talent is happy and engaged in their work, as many employees look to leave for greener pastures. As reported by CNBC, “In what’s been called the ‘Great Resignation,’ roughly 1 in 3 workers are now considering leaving their job, while almost 60 percent are rethinking their career.” This mostly comes from a lack of professional development opportunities, leading to dissatisfaction in employees’ current positions. For this reason, there is a need to discuss what an organization can do to develop its top talent. 

Talent mobility

One suggestion is to create a company culture of mobility. What this means is not only upward mobility but also lateral mobility or changing the departments in which a top performer works. In many companies, it is generally frowned upon to take an employee, especially a top performer, from another department. This is needlessly restrictive and causes the company to spend more time and money filling a high-level position externally when there is already qualified talent within the organization.

The benefit, as shown by a study by i4CP, is higher performance when organizations incorporate talent mobility into their strategy. This form of hiring and movement creates well-rounded employees who understand multiple aspects of the company, drawing from their experience in different departments. This also allows for companies to quickly react to the needs of the business. 

This is illustrated by a Harvard Business Review report, “Talent mobility is not merely moving people from one department to another. Top organizations view the practice as the ability to identify, develop, and deploy talent to meet the needs of the business. The ability to deploy needed skill sets rapidly and strategically, to staff at a minute’s notice, to accommodate for the unexpected.”

Create opportunities 

In the same vein, offering an employee an assignment or project outside their typical work environment will likely help them grow and understand the work from a new perspective. Each person in an organization has their function, but to develop and move upward in the company, they need to experience more experience in varying roles. 

This way, they are prepared for the new position ahead of schedule and with less training. The opportunity to grow will often be taken by those looking to improve, which is the majority of employees, and you can do this by creating those opportunities. This is a simple change that many organizations need to make, as Quantum Workplace has noted, “Only 21 percent of employees see opportunities for personal career growth at their organization.”

Final thoughts

The key to developing and retaining top talent is to engage them in the organization by creating a company culture that encourages growth and communication between departments. While each group has its own function, an employee who understands why another department needs something from them and how to present it best to them is invaluable. This creates an environment in which everyone works toward a collective goal, reduces miscommunication, and increases productivity. Overall, it will make the workplace a better place to be.