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  • Writer's pictureAdil Malia

Golden Handcuffs Cannot Hold Back Sharp Edged Talent

Below, is my article from the November 2019 edition of SightsIn Plus

Free Markets reject Primitive Retention Programs. Golden handcuffs cannot hold-back sharp Edged talent. Talent Markets are free markets.

Considering its differentiated ability to contribute, Talent is always in a state of high demand in multiple organisations at the same time. Its value thus goes up multi-fold created by its own demand in the market.

'Arbitrage' naturally comes into play in such a competitive arena and talent shifts from an organisation that offers lower Employer Value Proposition to another that offers better EVPs to the same talent. Simple logic, easy math! Q.E.D.

To invest or not to invest in talent capability in such markets then becomes a very critical question before the Management in COs. Whether it is wiser to invest in talent engagement & capability building and attract it to thus stay & contribute for a longer

spell; OR is it wiser to not invest in talent capability at all but save that investment &

keep offering higher and higher retention offerings each time there is a threat of talent attrition ... and by doing so, outmaneuver the competition in retaining talent..?

Experiences from the field indicate that money has limited inducement as a retention tool. The subliminal theme behind all monetary retention programs is quintessentially mercenary in nature. It commodities talent. If talent therefore in response reciprocates to such a proposition from commercial perspective and chooses purely a higher monetary offering without considering relationships or emotional bindings, we will have no one other than Managements of these Corporates to blame for triggering purely mercenary sentiments in the culture of the system. If money can retain a long-stay star from moving out, I would say, actually, let him go. It is only a matter of time, the deep faith and belief between such a star and the Company having now corroded and deteriorated.

Most Retention Programs Are Inapt!!!

Most COs tend to take a short term view and thereafter complain about the ongoing attrition of their Key Talent. They blame their inapt 'Retention Programs' and label their HR & Compensation Managers as incompetent to tackle the attrition challenge. But before going further, let me share a small story...

A Kangaroo kept getting out of his enclosure at the zoo. Knowing that he could hop high, the zookeepers put up a 10-foot fence. Didn›t matter - he was out the next morning, hoping about. So a 20-foot fence was put up. Again, he got out. When the fence was 40 feet high, a camel in the next enclosure asked the Kangaroo - "How high do you think they will go?” The Kangaroo said..."A thousand feet, unless somebody locks the gate at night!" Most Corporate Retention Programs are designed like that. We keep upping the money carrot each time, yet the program cannot retain because all the exit gates are not closed.

Organisations in their hurry to create monetary value, commoditize human resources. They tend to forget – throw money at a problem, money goes but the problem remains. Brain, just like the heart, loves recognition. Money albeit important can never buy employee loyalty. Clean your lens. Employee Alignment can retain. Employee

Connection can. Employee Motivation can. Recognition is a high-value item for every

employee; that's why they leave if they feel demotivated, unrecognized or unconnected.

The Quintessential Question Then Before Us Is - What Do We Suggest Cos Do?

Focus on locking all the gates. Get your CECEC - Culture, Exposure, Connection, Engagement and Career Programs right! You may not have to invest money funding Retention programs if you rather choose to invest the same in backing development of a flexible Culture, enhancing quality of work Exposure, involving Employees to Connect with the dynamic strategy, meaningfully Engaging with people & developing serious Career Development programs instead. It is just a matter of belief & philosophy - do you as a CO believe in positive Psychology or do you believe in primitive 'fear & rewards'

methodologies. Remember, soft sentiments and recognition work far better than Golden Shackles. Don't take the shortcut out. Talent is different. It is a very meaningful and emotional asset. Learn to maximize its contributions. z

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