Pay talent more? Treat talent differently? But what about equity? What about fairness?
Six-Sigma expert Subir Chowdhury is brave enough to put it in writing: All employees are not created equally, and we all know it. What is it exactly that distinguishes talent? Talented people have ideas, choose which ones to pursue, and stay disciplined, determined and focused on those ideas. Then—and this is where the difference arises—they take action and follow through. They don't just perform; they contribute. There's one more thing that distinguishes talent, and it's one managers better pay attention to: Talented people have choices. They are free agents, able to go anywhere. For this and a myriad of other reasons, Chowdhury makes a case for treating talent not like employees but like customers.
How to keep talent happy? Keep in mind, for one thing, that talented people are motivated by the joy of work, so make the work joyful. Don't micromanage. Don't tie their hands. Give them competent co-workers and bosses. Give them freedom to pursue their ideas, and let them excel. The book outlines ways of developing a talent-friendly organization, establishing a talent management budget and calculating return on talent.
One concern of mine that Chowdhury doesn't address: Does management recognize talent when it sees it? Maybe. But I've seen managers, through ineptitude or maybe jealousy, send talent running for the door. I've seen talent told to hold back. One of my favorite moments during an interminable team-building workshop came when the facilitator told the shining star to slow down and said, "That's what teamwork is all about—waiting for everybody else to catch up, never getting ahead of the others."
Fresh and innovative, The Talent Era is a useful and encouraging resource for those committed to finding and keeping talented people.