Talented and highly engaged managers thrive on challenges and retaining these go-getters is essential to trump the tough times.
Some managers “date” the organisation with low commitment value and then there are the highly committed ones who have aligned to the philosophy, the purpose and vision of the company. A leader must re-engage and re-energise these stars. A leader must not make an assumption that star managers are adequately engaged, instead an intense personal connect to re-instill a sense of belonging, commitment and re-enforcement of the purpose must be made.
A business leader must do three things consistently in tough times with all teams and more so with these talented managers and keep the interface refreshed — communicate honestly on future strategies, engage a lot more, recognise them more often through powerful even if non-monetary awards aligning their individual goals to the organisation’s. This engagement need to be continuously fed with challenges to keep the fire burning.
Lastly, all of above works when an organisation has long-term commitment towards talent. Like in a good marriage, partners invest in each other and are able to see through the ups and downs of life together, an organisation too must keep investing in talent in good times as well which will stand as an insurance of tiding over the tough times.
(Devendra Chawla, President, Food & FMCG business, Future Group)
As a leader, I firmly believe that there is no alternative to engaging with your talent — engagement designed for long-term growth; and not one which is impacted by short-term highs or slumps.
I believe that if your talent initiatives are well thought through, you don’t need to do anything differently during tough times. The biggest mistake we can make is to design a knee-jerk initiative as a reaction to market trends. Slowing down spends on employee initiatives or launching a special scheme to retain people when times are tough, can actually deter the very purpose it was designed for with employees viewing it as a one-off. In my mind, during tough times nothing works better than leadership connect. Articulating a clear vision and path for successfully getting out of tough times is the most effective retention tool.
(Leena Nair, Executive Director — HR, Hindustan Unilever Ltd)