➢ Executive Retention – Missing Links

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In drafting position descriptions, companies generally do a good job of laying out competencies, work experiences and education requirements. And too often, that’s where it stops. Selling the company story, it’s values and culture, outlining executive engagement strategy, mentoring and on boarding policies, and promoting the position in a way that will attract best talent is left up to hiring executives and their HR counterparts. It tends to be an informal arrangement, so much falls through the cracks.

I don’t think i have ever seen a position description that addressed aligning of candidates with company values and culture, or engagement policy. Culture fit is so important and gets great lip service, but lacks formal process. This is especially true of the dark side of company culture, those aspects that people really don’t like.

Attracting executives is only half the battle. Retaining them is a function of these other issues, and addressing them up front with candidates. CEOs today are working much harder at the trust formula with key employees, the deal they make with them when hired. The new term is employee value proposition, and Internet transparency challenges any integrity lapses here, any instances where company behavior goes contrary to their published values and culture statement (if such exists). So an unvarnished view of actual company culture, versus what your branding and messaging say is important.

Clarity is critical. The operative question is “Which behaviors are rewarded here, and which are punished?” Think about any executive failures and early exits, and ask the really hard questions. Does your company value introverts? Many don’t!. Will it tolerate creative types, free thinkers, contrarians, or is there a clear preference for a specific personality type? Does the company foster innovation and diversity of thought, ideas from any employee at any level? Or is there a complicated process that must be followed to float an idea?

What is your policy to ensure key employees are fully engaged and passionate about their positions and the company? Do you have one? Engagement issues to think about are your employer brand, empowerment and ownership, inclusion and collaboration, autonomy, personal development. Think about the issues important to Millennial employees – they look for integrity, a company that does no harm, is green, planet-friendly and socially responsible. They look for diversity, teaming and flexibility – job sharing, flex time and summer hours, work at home options and part time work for young mothers. And all these things are entirely reasonable in today’s competitive job market.

Publish company values, publish an engagement policy, publish a culture statement and be brutally honest with the dark side. Share this information with candidates and in position descriptions and interviews, so all managers and stakeholders are on the same page. Better to lose a candidate at the outset because of poor value and culture alignment, than several months into the job because of unexpected surprises.

Be more strategic. Invest in great, and complete position descriptions.