Remember that people don’t leave companies; they leave the people they worked for

I know this one’s debatable, and more often than not, ends up ruffling feathers. But let me be clear, we’re not addressing cases where an employee leaves an organization for better opportunities regardless of how outstanding leadership or management is. However, the rest of the demography often makes decisions based on their immediate Manager, type of work, office environment, and compensation.

And each of the above aspects is almost always heavily influenced by the “manager.” Nobody wants to admit it’s the truth because, in their defense, they (the managers) are trying their best to juggle a lot of balls in the air. And if a talent leaves, they leave. There’s nothing the poor Manager can do. In an ignorant world, that might have been an acceptable point of view, but we’re living in an age of cutthroat competition where talent can make or break businesses, none of us can buy into this BS.

So, the question remains — what can you do about it? The other day, I reviewed Gallup’s “It’s the Manager,” and I realized that people have tons of opinions on this topic, but the adoption rate (as far as solutions are concerned) is far too dismal. Part of the challenge is that the core leadership is almost always far too removed from the talent management process. For obvious reasons, of course, but I still wonder what else could be more important than taking a genuine interest in the people who run the ship.

The whole equation changes the moment a company’s leadership gets involved in the practice of talent management. If there isn’t one, they should work with the Human Resources team to build one formally. Of course, it takes some time to establish a talent management practice but once the ball gets rolling, people, particularly the managers, start to take notice. They want to know, contribute, and champion it more. Why? It gives them the right tools and framework to manage, nurture, and troubleshoot talent-related challenges in a much more systematic and organized way. That’s a win-win for them and the people they’re working.

Would it be perfect? Nope! No system is perfect, but a well-thought-out talent management practice basically puts the writing in the wall for the people — we care enough to want to help you succeed. That’s powerful. Of course, people will still leave. And some will continue to go for competitors or better opportunities due to lackluster management, but it’ll be an exception than the norm. The beauty of a great talent management practice is that such managers eventually find their way out of the organization.

But what are the chances that companies adopt these talent management practices? The answer is a classic, “it depends.” I believe organizations that care about its people and its value to the employer brand will incorporate robust practices in place. The others won’t. At least not right away.

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