Dollars and Sense: Stay on the lookout for talented people

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 18, 2007

We have often written about the fact that the organizations with the best talent consistently perform better than those with lesser talent. Leaders in organizations, large and small, understand this so it begs the question: Why don&8217;t we spend more time in the identification of talented employees?

Talent management is hard work. Finding talented employees though is perhaps the hardest task. Once we recruit them, leadership has the obligation and the opportunity to provide the environment, compensation and support necessary for retaining talented employees.

But finding &8216;A player&8217; talent in today&8217;s competitive world is indeed a daunting assignment.

Remember the very definition of an A player. A players are the top 10 percent of individuals that we can recruit for a position given all the terms and conditions (compensation, location, responsibilities, etc.) of the available opportunity.

We may find talent through sources like advertising in industry publications, on radio, TV, the Internet and even the time tested but still useful (in my opinion) newspaper help wanted section.

But to locate A player talent, we must constantly be searching for them at every opportunity.

It means we must be looking for talent at trade shows and other business related events, while traveling, while attending sporting events, at church, while participating in civic organizations or at any venue or event where we have the opportunity to network with other people.

Here is a simple example of how to apply this approach.

Years ago, I was a retail executive responsible for opening new stores. To find A player retail staff, I frequented restaurants and other retailers in the area, seeking out their most gregarious, friendly personnel (our top criteria for hiring). I then approached the person with my business card.

I made numerous excellent hires in this fashion, many of whom started at the entry level and worked their way up and became A player managers.

To find A player talent, leaders must maintain the mindset that talent can be found through many sources. The tough part is staying alert so that we don&8217;t miss our next great hire