Five Tips to Transform Talent in the Workplace

Posted June 03 2014

In a recent article on the Huffington Post, Anne Loehr (named the "Generational Guru" by The Washington Post) offers five tips to organizations to transform their workplace talent.  Despite numerous unsuccessful approaches and attempts to manage talent, certain questions come up again and again:

  • How do I retain talent with limited promotional opportunities?
  • How can we attract the best and the brightest?
  • How should I keep employees engaged and producing to their fullest potential?
  • What's the best way to manage generational differences in my team?
  • How can I prepare for the impending workforce changes?


Anne recommends the following five best practices to create the best organization:

  1. Treat your team with respect. No one likes to be spoken down to. What does it mean to treat them with respect? Read the next four tips.
  2. Communicate, communicate, communicate. The biggest organizational problem Anne sees is that one team doesn't know what the other teams are doing. So communicate regularly and often (up, down, sideways and out, many times) to help teams connect the dots and prevent process redundancy.
  3. Listen to your people. One way to do this is Manage by Walking Around.  When people speak, truly listen without an agenda, ask open-ended questions, thank them for their courage and honesty and invite them to share their thoughts with you any time in the future.
  4. Be strategically purposeful. If your employees are unmotivated, remember that people want their work to matter. Constantly connect them to the bigger vision and purpose.
  5. Acknowledge. Provide honest, direct, specific feedback to someone about something an employee did.


CTK agrees with Anne's recommendations to improve the management of talent.  We also believe it's critical for organizations to clearly define what successful performance means for each job family (e.g., marketing) and/or role (e.g., marketing strategist).  Without this understanding:

  • Organizations will lack clarity on key talent gaps (question 2 above)
  • Employees will lack clarity on what successful performance means for their role (in alignment with their manager's expectations) and career development opportunities (questions 1 & 3 above)
  • Organizations will find it difficult to identify succession candidates for impending workforce changes (question 5 above)


Without this clarity, organizations will find it difficult to identify, develop and retain talent, and maintain engaged, productive, satisfied employees.  We've seen several clients effectively implement a competency-based approach to define successful performance and apply it to talent acquisition, development, performance, workforce planning, etc.

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