Friday, March 15, 2013

Attracting Creative Talent

Charles Day, CEO of The Lookinglass, has written a good article for Fast Company about attracting top creative talent.  He offers eight suggestions.  I want to highlight several of them here.

First, he notes that mission-driven businesses are more likely to attract top creative talent.  People want to make a difference.   Second, people want to work for an organization that does not support underperformers forever.  Nothing is more deflating than watching managers retain people who are not contributing.   Third, you have to be transparent.   Day writes:

"Transparency is essential to attracting and retaining great talent. We define transparency as this: telling what you can and explaining what you can’t. Sharing openly encourages your people to give you the benefit of the doubt. Critical to building loyalty."

I think it's critically important to note the point about explaining what you cannot share.  At times, certain issues cannot be disclosed, or at least must wait to be shared.   That does not mean managers should remain completely silent. They need to explain (repeatedly) that more information will be shared moving forward, and you have to describe why certain information cannot be shared.   Employees will fill a vacuum of information with gossip, rumor, and lots of time-wasting water-cooler talk.  Don't let that vacuum exist.  Fill it with a steady stream of communication. 

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