Accounting for good people

Keep in touch with your former, key employees and one day they may return to your company.

Bridgeman Art Library

When one of your key talents leave your company for the competition, remember to keep in touch in some manner. That’s one of several lessons to be learned by the Big Four, the accounting companies Ernst & Young, Deloitte, PwC and KPMG.

The weekly journal the Economist draw some conclusions on talent management in their article Accounting for good people (printed 19th of July 2007). They summarise three lessons to be learned from the Big Four, surprisingly easy to copy for companies that want to improve their talent management practices:

  1. Building programmes that keep the company in touch with former employees
  2. Offering more flexible career paths to women
  3. Making people management an explicit part of the incentive system for senior staff

Keeping in touch with former employees, of course, may prove difficult to some managers because people tend to leave a job for a reason. When this reason is caused by for instance a bad relationship to his or her boss, the boss is less likely to be eager on keeping in touch with the employee. Therefore, there is a need of putting in place some kind of talent management system in the hands of other people than only the line manager.

Offering flexible career paths for women (and men, please), is crucial. Even though a century has passed since the suffragets’ movement and the events in Paris in 1968 kickstarting a gender revolution is almost half a century ago, women Europe wide tend to take more responsibility for raising their children than fathers do. Thus, accepting this state of affairs, get the heck moving and realise that women talents will enter the path to career a few years later than their male counterparts. Companies, CEOs and HR professionals are still not aware of this. Wake up, please.

Making people management an explicite part of the incentive systems for managers may prove useful. Linking successful talent management to an individual incentive system tend to make change happen more quickly than words and wishes. Money can turn out to be an essential driver behind organisational change. Simply embed an expected number of key personell not to leave the individual leader’s teams. If this number is passed, the leader will receive less bonus. That’ll keep the leader more focused on keeping talents and invest more in development and retaining key persons.

Accounting for good people

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