Get involved in the talent conversation

Ruth Mortimer

British businesses are failing to protect their talent. While one in five employees is apparently planning a job move in the next 12 months, just 29% of firms say staff defection is a significant concern, according to a report from Vodafone on corporate risk.

Just 10% of those surveyed claimed to have robust plans in place to deal with talent loss. And 61% of senior marketers believe their company is not doing enough to retain its top talent according to research from Michael Page.

This got me thinking about the nature of talent and what it means. It is not enough for just a third of businesses to care about staff defection. You are not just losing a good employee when someone with so much potential leaves; you are losing a talent conversation. Someone with talent is continually talking and inspiring those around them – those above as well as those below.

Speaking of talent, the mentoring and coaching organisation The Marketing Academy – supported since its inception by Marketing Week – announced its new set of scholars for 2012 (see the full list at here) this week. They will receive a year of intensive, personalised training from practised marketers including Amanda MacKenzie from Aviva and Martin Moll at Honda.

When someone leaves you are not just losing a good person; you are losing a talent conversation – someone who talks to and inspires those around them

These young executives, ranging from entrepreneurs to classic FMCG marketers, may well be our next corporate leaders, alongside those Rising Stars that Marketing Week picked out for next week’s Marketing Week Engage Awards. People like this are the talent of today, with the potential to become the talent of tomorrow too.

Troy Warfield, vice-president of family care at Kimberly Clark and one of The Marketing Academy mentors, agrees with the idea of talent being a conversation. In his view, “mentoring is a two-way process”. While experienced marketers like Warfield can communicate their experience and commercial sensibilities to the recruits, they in turn can make an impact on him.

Warfield runs an internal reverse-mentoring programme at Kimberly Clark where he is tutored by young marketers on their experiences and influences. He says this has proved to be a vastly useful experience for developing his own talent.

So don’t forget to invest in marketing talent. It isn’t just about hiring young and enthusiastic people with new ideas. It’s about retaining and enhancing those people that are open to new technology, concepts, and consumer behaviour and then allowing them to talk to everyone else in your organisation.

If you want to know more about talent, then make some conversations of your own next week at our Marketing Week Engage Awards on 22 May. You can ask Sherilyn, Troy, Amanda or Martin – who were all judges for the event – on the night about how to retain and enhance your talent pool. Join the party by contacting Natasha May on 020 7970 4772.

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