According to the folks at Johns Hopkins, talent management is defined as “a set of integrated organizational HR processes designed to attract, develop, motivate, and retain productive, engaged employees.” This is easier said than done, of course, in a business environment comprised of constantly changing technology, outsourced employment, and short-term thinking masquerading as leadership. If you want to hold on to your hard-won talent, avoid these six talent management blunders.

1. “Do as I Say, Not as I Do”

Unless the commitment comes from the folks at the top, it’s hard to take leaders seriously, and as such, hard to expect engagement from your employees. Talent management does not work well as a driving force from middle management — commitment must be demonstrated from the top down. If your company does not fully embrace a well thought out talent management plan, go to work for one that does.

2. Hire Fast 

In most situations, hiring fast is hiring wrong. Getting the right people on board is tough work that requires some very nuanced thinking and difficult decision making. The objective of the hire is to take the necessary time to find the best person for the role — not to just fill it with the first person who you think might be able to do the job. Hire fast and you will be sorry.

3. Turn a Blind Eye to Employee Relations

Do you think that Google is a good company to work for or a bad one? This is a trick question, because the answer depends on which employee you ask. People do not work for companies; they work for managers. This can be a very serious problem at times, so if you want to watch your best talent walk out the door, simply ignore the rumblings of employees who are doing poorly with their managers.

4. Underpay or Compensate Improperly

This one is my personal favorite. Compensation drives behavior, engagement, and — most importantly — performance. Pay too little in terms of market compensation, and you’ll be wondering why your organization is a revolving door, where people stay for a few years, get an education on your dime, and then move on to companies that compensate appropriately. If you ignore folks’ roles and pay the sales team, the C-suite, and the administrators a straight base with no incentive comp to drive the success factors, then you’ll be guilty of one of the greatest foibles in talent management.

5. Don’t Waste Money on Professional Development

There’s no sense in spending valuable resources on teaching the people that you hire, right? Wrong. If you let your employees try to fumble through on their own, you won’t only alienate them, you’ll also stifle their professional development. Add time, and the few talented hires that you retain won’t have the upgraded skills and enhanced capabilities of their counterparts at other companies. Ignore your employees’ progress, and your organization will fall behind as well.

6. See Onboarding as Inconsequential 

What is all of this talk about onboarding and learning about the organization’s culture, history, and processes? Well, if you don’t already know, then it’s time to join the conversation. Onboarding is critical to the success of both the employee and the company. It’s imperative to show your new employee why their job is important and how it fits into the big picture and the overall success of the business.

As you can see, I am a big believer in the importance of doing talent management right, and in all of the things that can be done to hire the best people and keep them. With the exception of a few chairs and some computers, your company boils down to your workforce. Your talent is your biggest asset, and they, not you, are the ones who make things happen.

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