01 November 2009

Retaining People – Human Resource is Abundance yet Scarce

The economy is recovering and we see organizations investing again with a lot of hope. Job market too has recovered due to people movement and creation of fresh positions. If you are leading a team and for next one year, you will be facing enough challenges in terms of retaining people. During this period if we keep up the basics and control things that we can control, firefighting will give decent results. Here are some of the things that you have to do. BTW, the following things should be done “always” irrespective of job market.
Connect with the team. Make them understand about the organization. Give authentic information and suggestions.

Challenge them quite well. Give assignments that make them think and always little bit tough to achieve with ordinary efforts. Appreciate openly and celebrate them when they make big mistakes trying big things they never tried.

Recognize both efforts and results. If you are dealing with less experienced people, sit with them and hear how they solved the problems. You can see their eyes go bright.

Give a feeling that you won’t let them fail. Authentically work on their growth. If they don’t have enough skills, sit with them and draw plan.

Motivate people and celebrate successes. Most importantly respect them. If you turn their suggestions down, do it respectfully.

Keep a close watch on overall performance. Understand the language of performance and never compromise on it. It is lifeline. You don't need non performance even if they have niche skills.

Understand their concerns. Empathize. If their concerns are not valid or reasonable, tell them up front that you cannot fulfill them. Let they also know why it is not reasonable. Set the expectations right.

Don’t negotiate money. If they want to exit because of money, let them do it. If it is more ownership and challenges, give them opportunity that gives them new experience. Don’t negotiate money. It doesn’t work.

Anticipate bad things and work on contingency plans. It is highly important that you deliver even when you don’t have super stars. Have “Plan B”. Start to work on contingency plans.

Always speak the truth. Don’t woo them.
I have been practicing above things past two years and so far it worked. I strongly believe, it will work in future too.


ARK said...

It mainly 'lies' in the bond of mutual trust between the members of the team and especially the manager and each of the member.

If the bond breaks at some point of time, the whole system collapses.

In fact, it's a big challenge to sustain the spirit of the team inspite of all disparities.

It takes courage for a Team Lead to express publicly his team experience. :)

Lakshmi Narayanan N said...


Wonderful point. Trust has to be the ruling line in the team. If either of them (leader or teammate) breaks it, it becomes difficult to rebuild it.

One of the reasons for sharing these experiences is to get it reviewed by readers and possibly we can even come up with new ways of leading a team probably contributing to Management next generation.

Thank you for your comments. This comment, like your usual thought process, connects all the other points. (remembers me your company logo Six Dots).

உத்தண்டராமன் said...

//Recognize both efforts and results. If you are dealing with less experienced people, sit with them and hear how they solved the problems. You can see their eyes go bright.//

Really this point makes lot of sense.And for sure your team is gifted to have such matured and a practical leader rather than a leader in papers :)

Lakshmi Narayanan N said...


Seems like you are reading out everything today like a guy going for an exam.

My team isn't gifted. I m gifted to have such a great and wonderful team.

They add more value to me than the value i add to them.