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The Art of Retaining Top Talent Series: The Growth Path

Talented people typically know they need to look down the road. The career path they’re forging has to tell a story; to explicitly demonstrate accomplishment, achievement and success. Most of us have been asked Where do we see ourselves five years from now in an interview. It’s a fraught question that usually gets a carefully calibrated answer that probably does more to demonstrate an ability to prepare for an interview than highlight any real ambition. It’s become trite because it’s important, and it’s important that your way of finding out the ambitions of your star players go beyond that wooden question.

I felt there was nowhere else for me to go.

Companies are dynamic. Maybe your office only has 50 people and lacks a hierarchy with a lot of visible rungs. Titles are still important, but like money they are in many ways an external goal, something to impress others with as opposed to satisfy yourself. For millennials, this isn’t as alluring; the real goals are often internal: the need to feel satisfied and engaged. Titles can be important at larger offices for their perceived ability to speed things along, but many smart companies are aggressively working to remove those barriers and bureaucracies that slog good ideas that don’t come from the top brass.

Titles still have transferable value, but since they’ve grown so obscure and specialized (Forestry Technician), even ridiculous (Chief Inspiration Officer) a candidate is given a lot of levity to express their title and level when seeking another job. So what can you do to keep your top talent engaged with a visible growth path? Like many things, the best thing to do is keep your business moving forward by getting out of your employees’ way.

Googlers famously get to apportion a percentage of their time to go after projects they want to pursue. Talk about a stellar recruitment tool. Your top talent is usually self-motivated and enjoy being creative in the way they solve problems. So empower them to attend whatever workshops they want, whatever conferences they have interest in. Allow them to grow in the ways they want to grow and in return they will yield a better work product. And they’ll stick around.

About NextGen

NextGen is the brainchild of longtime telecom professionals with nearly 50 years of experience and millions of dollars in Telecom Recruiting Services. We focus on establishing long term relationships with our clients and candidates so we can recruit the best and the brightest in the telecom industry. This ‘quality over quantity’ approach is at the heart of everything we do and has resulted in successful job placements at Fortune 1000 firms worldwide.