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How Can Companies Retain Their Senior Talents?

Written by: Ágnes Vad, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


Wise employers know (?) that hiring is not about age, and an innovative company wants talented people. Sounds familiar? Though you may experience it differently sitting at an interview and having 15-20+ years of experience.

And what talent really means?

There is no single definition, so I start defining it with simple words: A talent (or gift) is an inner quality that emerges effortlessly. Or with other terms, talent is a unique ability that potentially leads an individual to success. Talent is sometimes learned, but in some cases is natural born.

Looking at Renzulli's 3-ring conception, you can recognize that Renzulli does not focus on gifted individuals; rather, the focus is on gifted behaviors. The idea is that giftedness is not a static trait; rather, giftedness is more fluid and situational than you may initially think.

So, from this angle, the challenge of 'hiring talents' seems now a little different if we really consider that talent is fluid and can change in any direction with the years. Luckily, more and more organizations tend to focus on these wanted behaviors vs. making the hiring decision solely based on the individuals' professional knowledge.

But company's ability to hold on to its talent has profound ramifications for its ability to operate at a maximum level without the disruptions that employee turnover brings. However, it's easier said than to be done. According to a Society of Human Resource Management Survey, 47% of HR professionals said employee retention was the top talent management challenge they faced, closely followed by recruitment at 36%.

No wonder that these two are linked: it is much less expensive to retain a productive employee than it is to recruit one.

But if so, how do seasoned professionals with 15-20+ years of experience have difficulty staying and flourishing with their current employer or finding new and satisfying opportunities in the labor market?

What is the difference between a 'young talent' and a 'senior talent' – if there is any – that leads to the above phenomena?

As I am a seasoned professional with 18 years of experience in multinational leadership roles, I could have an easy answer to that if it was an easy thing! Nevertheless, I have an opinion and talking to others as well it is greatly outlined that retaining senior/seasoned professionals is an issue globally and has multiple factors that play a role.

Leveraging my multinational background, I have interviewed a few of my 'besties' from my professional network. Let me summarize some of my exciting findings (I have linked their entire interviews here).

1. People and Culture

No matter whether you have just started your career or are a seasoned professional, most of us agree that the worst jobs could be done with great people around. Sure, it's an over-exaggeration as most of us do care about doing quality work in addition. Yet, our human roots drive us to do great things with other people. And people will create a company culture that an employee either likes or hates. It may sound too harsh, yet culture is a cardinal factor that will define our period with any company. Interesting to see that this factor is independent of 'generations' and also from 'gender.' – most employees find the right culture essential along with great co-workers and human-focused and transparent leaders.

2. Truly Understanding the Individual

Being known and understood is a basic psychological need of every human being. Why would it be different at a workplace? Peers from my discussions also outlined that while 'treating people equally (topics of diversity) is also a 'must' from a company till

"Management must be flexible to address individual needs." Rodney Siebels, Founder of Siebels International

Knowing the people is a competitive advantage for an employer as being aware of individuals' strengths, motivations, and career aspirations will enhance this. A person who can regularly utilize their strengths will find regular happiness and satisfaction. It's a proven fact that executing a job with passion will lead to extraordinary results. It's time to recognize that a company's success is derived from the individual's success, so is the achievement!

"For me, very important that I have the trust to act, make decisions, be part of the strategic team, have access to leadership plans, take part in planning and not only execute. Super crucial to feel supported no matter your status, geolocation, beliefs, feel equal, and know that your company supports diversity and makes you feel accepted and one of the team." Marta Seweryn, Marketing Events Business Lead for AMER & EMEIA

3. Pandemic brings a unique dynamic

When we think about the pandemic period that started in 2020, we easily recall the (typically negative) emotions such as anxiety, sadness, anger, uncertainty, or even hopelessness.

"The recent focus on mental health in high performers is critical to understand and embrace. A company needs to do more than just provide vending machines, pool tables, and free snacks. They must offer work flexibility, career advancement, training options, and a strong competitive compensation package." Rodney Siebels, Founder of Siebels International

However, many seniors (and many younger talents too!) decide to change jobs despite the problematic situation and feelings. One reason can be that leaders and workers alike are dissatisfied by their companies' lack of opportunity and development (according to the 2020 Future of the Workforce Global Executive Study from MIT Sloan Management Review (SMR) and Deloitte). While 74% of respondents believe that developing worker capabilities is essential, only 34% of workers were happy with their organizations' investment in them before the pandemic.

This means to me that independently from being a senior or not (yet), the feeling of being cared for is essential for us. And with this, we are going back to points #1 and #2:

People, Culture, and Being Truly Understood are the Key Elements of Retention!

And how can an employer start the retention? With hiring and continuous and conscious relationship management – with your employee! It is how hiring the best and brightest becomes every employer's top nr one goal and therefore understanding employees' gifts, talents, and aspirations takes much more time and effort! And remember two things before you leave:

  1. Best and brightest don't always leave close by – think of remote people too!

  2. Hiring a talent means harnessing the diversity of skills and people attributes, so your "resource puzzle" together with the different gifted pieces has to be a mix of cultures, ages, gender identification, education levels.

Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!

Read more from Ágnes!


Ágnes Vad, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Ágnes Vad is a certified human potential and business coach with 18 years in marketing and 10+ years in cross-cultural leadership roles. Ágnes started her professional career in the multinational world in the marketing domain and built her thorough business acumen in parallel via the international leadership roles she was promoted to. She has been showing passion for working and leading people starting from the beginning of her career. She is a proud winner of the Leadership and Marketing Awards at her company. After 18 years, she decided to follow her passion and became a coach entrepreneur in 2019. In the last 2.5 years, she became an experienced and recognized professional in the coaching domain and has cc. 500 hours of coaching experience. She works with individuals and also with teams as a coach. She focuses on activating and maximizing human and leadership potential, emotional intelligence (EQ), mindfulness, and resilience.


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