The four keys to attracting and retaining top talent

07-17-13 5 good management characteristics

At United Way of Dane County we’ve been on a 10 year journey to transform ourselves from a grant making organization to one that’s tackling our community’s most pressing issues in education, safety and health. Our goal is to reduce and eliminate the underlying issues and apply research, resources and best practices that allow our community to see and feel change in the human condition.

This change in our aspiration has necessitated significant changes to our organization. We cannot begin to approach this work without a talented, high performing staff.

We’ve learned four keys to attracting and retaining that team.

1. A higher purpose:
People are looking for meaning in their work and they want to be part of something larger than themselves. What makes a person want to get up in the morning and bring their considerable talents and energy to your door? Have you engaged your staff in establishing a vision, values, and long range plan where everyone’s role is clear?

2. A valid and reliable hiring process:
There is an art to job development and analysis. How do you get underneath the veneer of a resume and traditional interview to connect talent with opportunities? There are a number of tools you can use. We utilize the Predicative Index (PI) to help us match individual motivations with job characteristics.

3. Develop your talent:
Purpose and process can help you attract talent to your organization. But the real opportunity is to develop and retain the talent you have. Here’s where you need to confront the brutal truth that people don’t quit their organization – they quit their supervisor. Be sure you’re paying attention to the quality of the management and managers in your organization. Invest in that. Once you know you have a great management system and people to lead it, then you can create a robust talent development program. In addition to traditional career training opportunities there are a myriad of things you can do with your organization:

  • Coaching and mentoring
  • Challenging assignments outside of their departments
  • Lateral career moves
  • Participate in trade and professional associations

4. Make the community connection:
According to Forbes Magazine, over 40 percent of a company’s reputation is determined by how well they develop corporate social responsibility and community involvement and volunteerism. In today’s market employees are entering their careers with the expectation that volunteering will be part of their professional life. According to a recent Deloitte Volunteer IMPACT Survey, 61 percent of millennials say a volunteer program would be a factor “when choosing between two potential jobs with the same locations, responsibilities, pay and benefits.” In addition, over 50 percent of those surveyed who volunteer in programs at their company stated they were “very loyal” toward their company and were likely to recommend their company to a friend.

In addition to making your organization attractive to talent, establishing a community connection for your staff can be a great tool for further developing your staffs’ talents. By participating in challenging skill based volunteer opportunities, serving on nonprofit boards, and learning more about the world they live in and the world your company does business in, your team’s skills will grow.

The United Way can help you learn about volunteer opportunities for your company. We have a variety opportunities and tools to get a volunteer program started at your business. If you’re in the Dane County area you can give our Volunteer Center a call at (608) 246-4380. If you live outside of Dane County you can click here to contact our national office or call (703) 836-7112.

About Leslie Ann Howard

A native Pennsylvanian, Leslie was born in Easton and attended Lafayette College there. She received her undergraduate degree in psychology in 1976 and went on to earn her master’s degree in social work from the University of Wisconsin – Madison in 1979. She has been a resident of Madison ever since. An advocate for collaboration and change in the health and human service delivery system, Leslie has spent a lifetime working and volunteering in the nonprofit sector. Her focus includes issues related to education, safety and health. Leslie has been president and chief executive officer of United Way of Dane County since 1989. The organization has grown from a campaign of $5.5 million in 1989 to over $20 million in 2013.

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One Response to The four keys to attracting and retaining top talent

  1. Delora Newton December 19, 2013 at 1:46 pm #

    Well said, Leslie Ann! Thank you for all the great things the United Way does to make the Madison Community a better place.

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