January 25, 2022

What is Talent Hoarding and How Does it Hurt Your Company?

Sam Caucci

When your star employees begin to realize that the only way to upward mobility is out, this can cause some serious retention issues for your organization. According to a report by Gallup, 51% of employed adults in the United States say they are currently also searching for new jobs or watching for new job opportunities. This means that half of the employees at your organization are at risk of turnover. But what is the cause of employees leaving your company? 

One of the top reasons for leaving given by employees is that they are frustrated with their career progress. Above all other considerations, millennials rank opportunities to grow in a job as the most crucial factor. 69% of non-millenials say that this is also important to them when looking for a new job. 

This means that employees tend to leave organizations when they are not able to see a developmental path forward, and instead choose companies that do show them a clear path forward. 

So why can’t your employees see a future with you? The problem might lie with talent hoarding. 

What is Talent Hoarding?

Around 50% of employees who left their jobs indicated that their managers or organization could have done something to prevent them from leaving. Yet, most former employees say that in the time leading up to their departure, there was no discourse with their manager or leaders about their role, performance or their development. 

Talent hoarding is a concept where managers have the tendency to focus on retaining top talent so much that they neglect their future development. When managers do not encourage or allow for internal movement of their employees, this is considered hoarding talent and puts them at risk for de-motivating or losing their top talent. 

Gallup has suggested that when leaders keep high performing employees in their same role with tunnel vision and don’t actively encourage them to progress forward in their careers, then employees will end up leaving. This voluntary turnover issue has cost businesses a trillion dollars per year. In fact, replacing an employee can be half to two times more of that employee’s salary. Even more if you lose knowledge, contacts, morale and other contributions that any great employee will bring to the table. 

Some common talent hoarding tactics can include perpetuating the idea that an employee is not ready to move up yet, hiding their employee’s achievements from those outside of the team, or holding back on training opportunities. They also fail to let them know about job openings, or don’t volunteer them for promotions. 

So now we see that when managers hoard talent, they will end up losing it forever. What are the reasons behind why they do it?

One of the reasons is our own human nature. Everyone is afraid of losing things that we already have, more so than we are afraid of losing out on future better opportunities. We are likely to also defend the way things are now than imagine any other alternatives to the norm. Plus, managers could feel trapped in their workplace culture under a scarcity mindset. That is, if everyone in your organization is hoarding their talent, then no one will want to stop or be generous. 

How to Avoid Talent Hoarding in Your Organization

These are some ways that you can retain and develop your top talent instead of pushing them away through hoarding.

Coach rather than lead.

Instead of doling out regular, routine performance reviews, your managers should aim to provide your employees with meaningful feedback. This shows that managers are actually interested in their work, that they care about their employees’ concerns and this can also give you a personalized approach to meeting their goals. Learn about what each of your employees’ long-term goals are, and help them create a plan to actually get there. Even if they move to another department, they will ultimately go on to strengthen the organization. 

Share knowledge.

When you share the experience, talent and knowledge of your top performers with the rest of the team and organization, you are giving everyone an opportunity to learn how to shine and excel in their own roles. This can involve putting your talent into mentoring programs, cross-training for other roles, or working with recruitment and training to fill any talent gaps that are created when people move on into new roles. 

Avoid under-rating employees.

It’s important to have a consistent method of tracking performance company-wide, as well as a program for individuals who consistently excel past their colleagues. Allow your managers to share the names and skills of these individuals throughout the organization, and allow them to grow as a professional, and let other teams leverage their talents too. 

Studies find that traditional performance reviews are no longer helpful. Instead, some more effective evaluations purposely steer away from biases like gender, or race, and focus on measurable steps that employees should take to succeed. They also implement methods which measure criteria fairly across all departments of the organization. 

Fair assessments will help individual employees, as well as serve as a reference for other hiring managers that this employee might come into contact with in the future. 

It can be difficult to let your star employees go to another department, or grow professionally. But having a growth mindset means that you are not only thinking about the benefits that they bring to you, but also about how they can benefit your organization as a whole. 

At 1Huddle, we offer cloud-based employee gamification software that can easily adapt to any employee training or gamification strategy you want to implement at your workplace. You can customize your content for a seamless experience and all of your employees will be able to access their training anywhere, anytime and at the push of a button. You can use our gamification platform to measure their performance and make key decisions on where you should take your gamification strategy next. 

Do you want to learn more about how 1Huddle can help you level up your own workforce? Request a demo today.

Sam Caucci, Founder & CEO at 1Huddle

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