October 20, 2016 – A quarter of U.S. businesses are experiencing a marked increase in talent raids at the C-suite level, yet most are unprepared to combat this “poaching” of their most capable people.
This is a key finding from a talent retention survey of nearly 400 human resources professionals conducted recently by Marlin Hawk, a global leadership advisory firm, and Hunt Scanlon Media, the most widely referenced source of human capital information. Of responding HR experts, 54 percent indicated that their company either has no plan to ward off poachers or, if it does, they’re unaware of it. And of those whose companies have a strategy in place, only 39 percent were satisfied with it.
A high-resolution infographic of the results is available here.
“No organization would let an intruder stroll in uncontested and walk off with financial assets or intellectual property,” comments Marlin Hawk Chief Commercial & Innovation Officer Mark Oppenheimer. “But when it comes to defending talent, the figurative gates are wide open. It’s a huge mistake that can have an adverse impact on readiness to compete, growth targets, and share price.”
This talent retention survey – which collected information from companies in sectors including financial services, technology, retail/consumer goods, healthcare, government, and manufacturing – indicates that while only 4 percent of respondents believe talents raids have been declining during the past two years, just 47 percent of respondents said their companies have a definitive plan to identify vulnerable talent.
While the survey’s results speak to a specific problem at many companies, the experts at Marlin Hawk and Hunt Scanlon suggest it can be resolved. Recommendations include:
- Identifying top talent – and taking care to look beyond the obvious.
- Not over-emphasizing financial compensation at the expense of other factors like recognizing contributions and giving increased degrees of responsibility.
- Identifying dissatisfied executives, and then taking visible, direct steps to alleviate their concerns. Also, providing forums for them to express concerns and vent frustrations.
- Having a robust succession plan in place, for times when a key executive does leave.
- Allowing departing, top-level talent to leave on good terms, and encouraging them to be transparent about their decision to leave.
Despite the importance of retaining executive talent, only 14 percent of respondents utilize an external advisory partner for devising retention strategies.
“That’s a missed opportunity,” concludes Hunt Scanlon Media Chief Executive Scott Scanlon. “There are many innovative advisory firms out there whose expertise in enhancing retention can mitigate the risk of losing top executives to poachers.”