On keeping top talent…

Back after a bit of year-end organizational fun and games…  so this Investor’s Business Daily article on talent retention posted on Yahoo (here) is particularly relevant.   This quote captures the challenge of managing top talent in a downturn:

Even with the economy slumping, employment consulting firms say tracking, coddling and nurturing young turks is vitally important….  “We think some of these best and brightest, if you don’t communicate with them and engage them, they’re going to be looking for their own bailout package,” said Steve Krupp, partner and leader of the executive talent management practice at Delta Organization & Leadership.

SAP’s Top Talent program is mentioned prominently, especially the fellowship program.  I had an opportunity to leverage the fellowship program, both as a fellow and as a hosting organization.   For me, the fellowship experience was by far the best part of the Top Talent program to date.  As Paul Orleman from SAP notes:

The key to such a program, experts say, is that it has to be embraced by the CEO on down. If not, it’s all too easy for a key employee in one division to be pigeonholed.  To help avoid that, SAP offers some of its highest prospects six-month fellowships in another line of the company’s business, usually in a different geography.

Other parts of the SAP Top Talent approach aren’t as mature — the marketplace and networking initiatives are uneven at best.  However, there’s not doubting the prominence of the effort; the program is part of the Office of the CEO.  I’ll be curious to see how it evolves in 2009, given the pending CEO transition.

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