Retaining Talent

Manuel Bermejo. Professor. IE Business School

9 March 2011

One of the basic rules of managing people is that there is a direct correlation between talent and competitiveness. But retaining talent is becoming increasingly difficult in the current environment.

If people management experts have one thing clear, it is the importance of attracting and retaining talent. The correlation between talent and a company´s competitiveness seems obvious.

If we ask family business owners about talent, they would surely agree with this premise, although I imagine they would also include variables that are very highly valued by family business owners within the concept of talent, such as loyalty and commitment.

One of my main concerns as an entrepreneur and manager as far as matters that are important but not necessarily urgent are concerned is finding talent. And I honestly believe that a lot of talent will flee Spain due to levels of disappointment and the absence of a solid national plan. Yet another drama to add to the already terrible consequences of this crisis.

Last week, the Chinese president, Hu Jintao, visited the White House, where Obama received him as a world power, which is what he is. We live in a world that is becoming more and more multipolar and, therefore, a lot of Spanish talent is thinking about developing a career in China and in the other famous BRIC countries.

On February 3, there was a Hispano-German summit and Chancellor Merkel
came with the idea of proposing bilateral programmes to motivate young Spaniards to find employment in Germany. Once again, the German economy is the driving force for Europe.

I have talked with many family business owners recently about the difficulties they encounter when trying to employ young talent because they do not want to stay in Spain. Meanwhile, the same business owners tell me that they have had to increase salaries by more than 5% because of the union agreement in force in their sector and that the unions wipe the floor with them in court every time they try to innovate to be more productive. And all this with an unemployment queue that is nearing the 5 million mark. Have we gone mad?

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