Why are Leaders A$$holes When it Comes to Giving Up Talent?

Tim Sackett Hiring Managers, Recruiting, Talent Acquisition, Talent Management

Internal mobility has never been hotter. Organizations like Workday and Oracle spent years building out their internal mobility tech and I didn’t get it at first. I’m like, is this really needed!? Then, organizations started using it and it exploded! Turns out, our employees actually like us, but they want the freedom to move within our organizations.

That is making a century-old problem come to the surface in a big way!

Managers hate giving up their talent!

We would hope that modern-day managers of people would be above this. Jill gets promoted, is running a tight ship, and is looked at as a great future leader of the company, but Jill has a hickey! She doesn’t like to let go of her high performers! Do you blame her?

If I’m Jill, here is my predicament:

  1. I select great talent.
  2. I develop great talent.
  3. I now lose great talent.
  4. Rinse, repeat.

It’s super frustrating for leaders to go through this cycle. On top of that, as a leader, we don’t trust that our Talent Acquisition team will find us more talent. That is a real issue!

And that’s on top of having to interview, select, train, develop, and still not being sure you’ll end up with talent as good as just walked out the door to another part of your company.

Now, does Jill get this is an actually good thing for the employee? Of course! That’s not the issue.

How do we get managers to willingly give up talent?

  1. You have to take away their biggest worry. Fix your recruiting so they know you’ll replace their loss with some as good or better.
  2. Make the exercise of giving up talent a win for their career.
  3. Scoreboard it. Everyone needs to know the managers who “develop” the most talent in the organization.
  4. Reward them financially.
  5. Executive recognition.
  6. Spankings for those who want to stay a$$holes.

First off, number one is way harder than you think it is. Yeah, for sure Tim, we’ll have our shop in order. But you don’t, that’s why it’s such a problem! You can’t have great internal mobility, with broken recruiting. You’ll have a leader mutiny on your hands!

You must develop a culture where those leaders who give up talent are celebrated and rewarded for their ability to select and develop talent that others want in the organization. Publicly, this must be celebrated. Those leaders should be put on a pedestal.

When I say reward financially, I mean we need to have a measurement and compensation system that will give a higher bonus to those leaders who are doing more work around internal mobility. You are doing the right things, and we’re going to take care of you because of it. Because, quite frankly, those managers are more valuable than the ones that don’t move talent in your organization!

Finally, managers that don’t do this, need a private spanking by executives, and that doesn’t work, a public spanking. Leaders in your organization should be embarrassed to not have members of their team chosen to move onto other roles. It should be humiliating not to be able to select and develop talent others want!

Modern leaders are people movers. They select, hire, and develop talent that others want. That is a great competency of a great leader. We should be celebrating this behavior, and refusing to put up with the opposite.