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Are you a talent magnet?

Posted by Justin Field on May 26, 2009

I was reading materials on performance management and came across the concept of being a talent magnet.  We know that we want to retain top talent and we do a lot of good things to keep high potential / high performers in the organisation.  But taking the organisation perspective, and particularly the manager perspective, do you, as a manager have a good track record of retaining high potential / high performing employees?  Are you a talent magnet?

A manager who is a talent magnet will, over time, develop a reputation for leading high performance teams and for developing and retaining key employees.  The organisation will know this and respect them for this. 

Managers who lose talent, or who develop a reputation for driving talent away from their teams, will naturally end up with mediocre or low performing teams. 

I am hoping that we can find a good way to measure this, as a talent metric:  talent magnetism.  If you have a good idea of developing a metric for this, leave a comment on this post.  Personally I am thinking about the rate of loss of top talent, over a five year period (or some similar rolling average).  I think a long time frame, like five years, is really required in order to see the true trend regarding a manager’s track record.

5 Responses to “Are you a talent magnet?”

  1. Amy Wilson said

    Justin – thanks for bringing this up! This is a tricky one since retention of top talent on a team is not necessarily the goal. The truly effective leader is producing talent for (or to lead) other teams. This nuance is so darn hard to measure. A start is to measure long-term retention within the company (rather than within the manager’s team).

  2. Venkatesh Koticalpudi said

    Hi Justin,

    Your thoughts represent an attribute of any organisations culture. From what I could gather as the context of a Talen Magnet, per me a Talent Magnet need not necessarily be a manager retaining talent within his organisation in his team, but it could be a charismatic leader who have been able to retain not just his team, but his followers outside as well. This is important today as he could be a Mentor for many of his own associates who are very very talented and hence could be very important to his own organsation. Aboarding such talent would not be a problem having this talent magnet. Today is the age of networking. According to Dave Woolrich any good leader with good people management skills, must also be extremely good in networking and networking is essential for managing talent and clinching opportunites efficiently – both. Developing a metric to evaluate a leaders ability in this context would be very interesting exercise. I will get back to you after some thorough reading with more detailed information.. but nice to be in loop in this discussion.

    Thanks and Best Regards,
    Venkatesh Koticalpudi

  3. Meg Bear said

    Justin, My husband is exactly this. I’ve watched it for years. I think the way you measure it is how many times do people follow that person as they move to different roles, jobs, etc. My husband has had lots of occasions where people have followed him across several career moves. I find that really impressive.

  4. […] Posted by Justin Field on June 9, 2009 Dan Murphy has assembled a great collection of leadership development articles in his June 7th Leadership Development Carnival.   We are proud to be featured for our article entitled Are you a talent magnet? […]

  5. Ravi Banda said

    We should also consider Employee Referrals in the metric to consider the fact that Talent Magnet can also act as Talent Detector.

    Lets say a Manager recruits an Employee and they stay with the Manager for few years and then leaves the team for other opportunities but is within the same company. This Employee may also be recruiting other people and retaining them and we should give some of the credit to the original manager. This sounds like a pyramid scheme but completely harmless 🙂

    Example –
    Manager A hires Employee B and Employee C and after 2 years, Employee B hires Employee D who is being the company for 1 year, so at the end of 3 years, I can put a metric like

    Manager A Talent magnetism =
    3 (which is number of years for Employee B)
    3 (which is number of years for Employee C)
    0.5 (this is a multiplication factor derived based on degree of separation between Manager A and Employee D) * 1 (which is number of years for Employee D)

    We can also add the Employee’s Performance Ratings to this equation.

    May be this way we can capture the total contribution of an Employee in retaining the talent for an organization directly and indirectly.

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