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Top-Flight Talent Hard To Hold, Study Shows

Compiled By Jill Jusko The economy may be slowing, but top talent remains a hot commodity that's hard to find and keep. So suggests a survey of human resources professionals by The Conference Board, New York. Some 90% of the 109 respondents told the research organization that they are having difficulty getting and keeping the best people for their organization. "While labor shortages in the 1990s were driven by technology skills and initiatives, employers are currently putting a high premium on general leadership competency," says David Dell, co-author of the report with Jack Hickey. The Conference Board noted four behaviors sure to drive or keep away talent from an organization. They are:

  • Failure to make getting and keeping talent a long-term strategic priority.
  • Belief that throwing money at the problem will make it go away.
  • Organizational denial, or refusing to acknowledge that employees' first loyalty is to themselves and then to their professional skills. The study says businesses need to be aware that employees base their decisions on whether to stay or go not only on current prospects but on how it prepares them for further moves.
  • Failure to make business leaders understand how turnover affects their businesses.
"Most companies still take a shotgun approach to keeping employees happy, and most still consider their efforts too reactive, especially in regard to retention," says Hickey.
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