Talent: We Cherish Them, and We Want Them To Stay

Table of Contents

In today’s globalised economy, organisations depend strongly on creativity and innovation in order to stay ahead of the competition. In addition, talent plays a fundamental role in organisations through knowledge creation. Knowledge creation, as explained by Bligh et al. (2006), is highly dependent on the ability of organisations to integrate the ideas and abilities of individuals with different approaches. To add on, Thorne and Pellant (2006) define a talented individual as “someone who has the ability above others and does not need to try hard to use it. They excel with ease and grace.”

Lack of sufficient talent pipeline

In recent months, organisations have followed suit the trends of downsizing and resizing. Thus, this resulted in tremendous change and the restructuring of the workforce. In light of this, organisations value capabilities more than loyalty. In addition, they tend to offer challenges rather than guarantees, and adopt shorter term perspectives (Hamel and Prahalad, 1996). However,  nearly 40 global companies indicated that a lack of sufficient talent pipeline to fill strategic positions within the organisation constrained their ability to grow their business (Ready and Conger, 2007).

Experienced workers VS younger workers

Experienced workers

Dries (2013) explains that retaining talented individuals is becoming increasingly difficult, partly due to psychological contracts. By the same token, Rousseau (2001) defines psychological contract as the belief employees hold about the terms of their relationship with their employer. The psychological contract of experienced workers differs from that of younger workers. That is to say, that older workers tend to be loyal to their organisation (D’Amato and  Herzfeldt, 2008). In return, they expect their hard work to be rewarded with job security and gradual pay increases.

Younger workers

On the contrary, the younger generation tend to have the perception that relying on employer’s loyalty is risky business. As such, these younger workers are oriented to take responsibility for their own career. Additionally, they are more equipped to make quick career transitions and take advantage of unexpected learning opportunities. Crainer and Dearlove (1999) sums it up that younger workers are more prepared to exit the organisation. Moreover, when a good opportunity arises, they are willing to look for other employment opportunities if they perceive that their needs are not being met by their current employer.

Employee Retention

All in all, there are a number of ways to encourage employees to remain with the organisation and improve employee retention. Govaerts et al. (2010) found that it is especially important to invest in the learning of their employees. This played an important part in employees' decision to stay for the long haul. Furthermore, losing such employees means that new employees will have to be hired and trained. This comes at a substantial cost to resources (Frank et al., 2004).

Walker (2001) identified several factors that help talents find meaning in their work. In return, this increases their willingness to stay in an organization. Altogether, work should challenge talents to fully maximize their potential. Moreover, it also includes work that provide opportunities for learning and growth while offering healthy work life balance. Additionally, work that involve effective communication of ideas, sound feedback cycle and recognition of capabilities are able to maintain long employee retention rates.

Enabling leadership

Kaplan and Kaiser (2009) proposed the concept of enabling leadership. In particular, enabling leadership reflects organisational support systems that creates conditions for employee self-regulation and self-management. In other words, implementing a system of self-leadership (Manz and Sims, 1987) will make employees feel valued and a gain a sense of trust from the management team, that will encourage them to stay.


Finally, Bass (1997) suggests that organisations can convince its talents to stay by empowering them, as opposed to just influencing them. Empowering talents increases both their ability and their work motivation. To achieve these ends, Dvir et al., (2002) suggests that organisations instill empowering behaviors in their employee. For instance, this includes enhancing their capacity to think independently, and motivating them to come up with novel ideas.

Recognise older demographics and their importance to organisations

With an aging population in Singapore, we need to remember the older workers who still have much to contribute to the workforce. Most often, it is these workers of the older demographics that are left out of the picture. We need to be cognisant of this. Thus, there is a dire need for organisations to recognise the importance of such individuals with a refined knowledge in their specific fields as key human capital the organisation can employ (Tansley, 2011). To sum up, it is important to remember the value that  senior workers offer in an organisation. That is, they serve as mentors to younger workers stepping into the workforce.

'Bottom up' approach

All things considered, we want to remember the advice of Rousseau and House (1994).  A ‘bottom up’ approach allows members of the organisation to have a say in shaping their teams. Furthermore, with the current sluggish economic growth, organisations should focus on improving employees motivation. With this in mind, inculcating an emotional attachment to the organisation in the long run can prove to be a huge investment.


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