There are never any dead ends. If you think creatively and drive with your eyes open, everything and everyone can lead you somewhere.
As a part of my HR Strategy Series, I’m talking to top experts in Human Resources to teach you what hiring managers are actually looking for. Today I had the pleasure of having a quick chat with Addie Swartz to share the five ways she identifies and retains top talent.
As CEO of reacHIRE, Addie Swartz creates opportunities and empowers women at all ages and stages of their careers with return-to-work programs for many industry leaders.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What have been your top five ways to not only identify talent but also retain your best employees?
By working with talent at all ages and stages of their careers, we know firsthand the important role confidence, community, and connection play in navigating workplace success.
1. Screen Candidates for Potential — There is an ancient quote that says the day you were born was the day the world could no longer exist without you. I love this idea because it speaks to purpose and individuality. Every person has unique potential but sometimes we limit how we see it, and how we let it be seen.
2. Recruit for Learning and Curiosity — The traits we hear most often to describe employees thriving at work are: optimistic, hardworking and humble. This is especially true for managers who are able to know what they don’t know and surround themselves with talent that can fill in the gaps around them. Individuals with a can-do attitude and growth mindset are able to connect the dots in interesting ways and push through adversity, even when thrown into uncharted, ambiguous professional territory.
At the end of the day, people like working for — and with — positive leaders who inspire.
3. Fix the Broken Rung — According to the 2019 McKinsey and LeanIn Women in the Workplace Report, there is a “broken rung” for women on the path to leadership, and it is right at the beginning. Fixing the broken rung will create a “chain reaction,” and enable more entry-level women to rise into management, paving the way for them to ascend to senior leadership levels.
In the war for talent, retaining and advancing women is critical. The more we can do to fix the broken rung, the larger the pool of female talent companies will have to fill leadership positions.
4. Identify High Potential Talent Earlier — Most “Hi-Po” employees aren’t identified and selected for the leadership track until they are seven-plus years into the job. This is problematic not only because of the “broken rung” on the corporate ladder, but also because arbitrary events can happen early on that can significantly impact an employee’s career path: their manager’s experience, specific assignments, the division they are assigned, and family circumstances are just a few.
When you consider all of the steps and investment it takes to find, recruit and hire an employee, each new hire should be looked at as “high potential” from day one, and supported that way. Otherwise, why hire them in the first place?
To help identify strong talent sooner, consider creating opportunities for sponsorship and collaboration between leadership and entry levels much earlier. Provide tools and support, so that when those arbitrary events happen, a career isn’t derailed but rather better navigated.
By seeing talent in action at the earliest stages, and not leaving success to chance, you can more quickly identify the softer skills that are the hallmarks of leadership and better support an employee’s development and long-term success.
5. Seize the 3C’s: Confidence, Connections, and Community — Once again, confidence, connection and community matter to a woman’s career success. To cultivate and retain top talent, I believe it is critical for companies to invest in the 3 C’s earlier in a woman’s career path.
Establishing online and offline peer groups, specific resources, and specialized support gives women the opportunity to speak with other women, share advice, set personal goals and build community within their organizations. It shows women that they are supported by their employer, rather than left on their own to navigate their careers successfully within their organization.
Most importantly, it says to all employees that their company is deeply committed to retaining the fantastic talent they worked so hard to attract and recruit in the first place.
Thank you for sharing these fantastic insights!