By: Misti Burmeister
“If you would thoroughly know anything, teach it to others.”
Tryon Edwards (1809 – 1894)

In my travels to Greece this October, I had the privilege of dining with the parents of one of my clients. These two wonderful people, Ted and Zoe Couloumbis, are not only well educated and very active in contributing to their community, both politically and locally, they are also incredibly wise.

While eating a delicious dinner at a restaurant with a clear view of the Acropolis in the background, Ted looked me in the eye and said “you have to be hungry.” I correctly assumed that he meant for me to be successful in business I have to be hungry. In the moment, I really understood and agreed with his ideas related to my success in business. Starting my business with $37 in my bank account three years ago, I felt like I really understood what he was saying.

Early the next morning, as I was staring at the Acropolis drinking my morning tea, it occurred to me that regardless of circumstance, people must be hungry to reach their goals. Organizations, seasoned professionals and young professionals all have goals.

This newsletter will focus on organizations; followed in December addressing seasoned professionals; and will conclude in January focused on young professionals.

If your goal as an organization is to attract, develop, inspire, and cultivate talent, you must be hungry enough to take the necessary steps to create an environment where they can thrive. Retention is the result. If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten. It’s that simple.

An organization hungry to retain talent goes out of its way to learn what’s working well, what’s not working well, and make changes to adjust for the change in the workforce. Organizations hungry to retain talent must have employees at all levels actively involved in the cultivation of leaders. The result: increased retention.

So many times I have worked with companies who say they want to attract great talent and retain them. The leaders say they are willing to do what’s necessary to create this very important change in order to hold onto talent. Yet, few leaders are truly willing to commit themselves to this goal. If the leaders are unwilling to challenge their own assumptions and create new systems to support their professionals, the organization is not yet hungry enough.

Census data shows that as Baby Boomers continue to move into retirement, there is only one young professional to fill the shoes of two seasoned professionals. As this continues, companies are getting hungry. Smart companies are no longer saying, “That’s not the way we do it;” instead, they are asking, “What changes will make a positive difference?” And, most importantly, they are taking necessary steps.

One great example of this is Google, which has managed to put itself in the envious position of spending little to no money attracting talent, but rather spends a great deal more money on developing talent, which, in turn, retains that talent. Google gets over 1000 resumes per day, while Google’s professionals rave about how great it is to work for the company.
Is your organization hungry to attract and retain great talent? Here are three great tips for how to get the process started:

  • Provide clear career paths and a mentoring program.
  • Provide opportunities for your employees to develop their skills. It’s a win/win!
  • Be flexible in terms of when work gets done. If your employees work better and faster between 10pm and 2am (and it’s possible to allow them to do so), why not get the best out of them? Focus on the mission, set a timeframe for completion and let your employees take care of the rest.
  • Bonus: create a fun environment!

Misti Burmeister, Founder/CEO, Inspirion Inc

© Inspirion, Inc. 2006. Copying and distribution of this article without modification is permitted in any medium without royalty, provided that the copyright notice and this notice are preserved.