Employee Retention 101: Enabling Your Organization’s Talent to Succeed

Written by Scaleocity

On November 9, 2021
As we’ve discussed in prior posts, employees are resigning at abnormally high rates, and experts are predicting that we’ve not yet reached the end. With multiple factors such as remote work increasing access to a global talent pool, and employees rethinking their priorities after 18 months of life in a global pandemic, competition for talent is at its peak, and organizations who are not actively engaged in retaining their employees… won’t.

We’ve discussed 10 fresh ways to show appreciation to your team, and 3 indicators that you may need to sharpen your leadership skills, however, we’re now going to do a deeper dive into employee retention as a whole in a new series: Employee Retention 101. We’ll explore topics specifically designed to support you in your efforts to retain your top talent, including embedding training and development in your organization’s culture, creating a structured and collaborative career planning program, launching quarterly, forward-looking performance check-ins, and embracing equity in your workforce through inclusion, pay transparency and hiring.

The first topic on this series will cover a fundamental shift in HR strategy, and will provide an introduction to several of the other topics forthcoming: how to enable, rather than manage, your talent.

Management has become a bit of a bad word in business.

  • The best organizations hire leaders, not managers.
  • “Micro-managers” are sure to have an unhappy team.
  • A minority of progressive organizations are eliminating any kind of hierarchy, opting for “manager-less” workplaces.


All that said, management is still essential to business. Even without a formal hierarchy, someone must rise to lead the team. Similarly, tasks and projects must be followed up on to ensure proper execution, and teams, at times, do require some “managing”.

When considering your HR strategy though, consider the priority you place on your people to begin with. If your people truly are your most important asset, then it is time to shift your focus from “managing” talent (following up on specific deadlines or action plans with a structured program for addressing problems) to “enabling” talent (removing obstacles and supporting your team as they advance through the organization).

At the end of the day, this approach will leave your team feeling valued and empowered to achieve their goals – two keys to improving their likelihood of staying with your organization.

How an organization makes the shift from talent management to talent enablement varies widely, but there are several key areas of focus to consider, some of which we’ll explore in more detail later in this series.


  1. Performance Conversations: Yes, performance conversations are still necessary in a talent enablement approach. However, recognize the difference between a performance conversation with your manager who is ready to rehash every mistake you’ve made over the last 90 days, vs. one with your leader who coached you on those shortcomings on the spot, and is instead prepared to focus on providing developmental challenges and stretch assignments to move you forward. Employees with the second boss are much more inclined to stay with their current employer.

  3. Learning and Professional Development: In order to actualize the developmental challenges discussed in a forward-looking performance conversation, the organization must have them available. Implementing a learning and development program in which employees can not only stay appropriately skilled for their current role, but upskill to the next level, will enable your organization’s talent and drive retention.

  5. Policy: Again, there are some critical pieces of business in which “managing” is necessary – HR is no exception. The most forward-looking organizations embracing talent enablement will still need an HR policy. However, if the organization maintains a people-first mentality, then that should also carry to policy. HR can help to be a bridge to collect the voice of the employee, and ensure that when possible it is incorporated into a reasonable and well-structured HR policy.

  7. Technology: As a leader of an organization, a team of employees that is well-trained, engaged in professional development, and receiving regular and constructive performance feedback is a dream. However, to take the dream a step further, that team also needs to be able to be accessible to you. Technology solutions can assist in tracking the progress made in these efforts and monitoring employee skills and aptitude to ensure that they are considered for any opportunity that they may be well-suited for.


Talent enablement is not a strategy in which simple boxes can be checked to say it is complete. Embracing this approach will require the organization’s full leadership team, with a big lift and dedication from HR. However, because it is a broad philosophy, there is certainly a method of implementation that will work for your organization. And, if implemented correctly, it will improve your organization’s productivity, your team’s morale, your staff retention and ultimately, your bottom line.

About the Newsletter

One actionable tip on hiring employee #1 and beyond, the steps to build your Proactive HR system, and how to develop a high-performing team to help successfully grow your business.

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