Are your top people in the right roles?

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Employers always try to place top talent in positions that matter most to the business but three industry experts says certain key roles often go overlooked, at the expense of a business.

According to Lynn Cowart, Cile Johnson and Beverly Caye – who all work in finding, retaining and developing talent – the most important roles are widely considered to be senior leaders, connectors in the middle and high-potential future leaders.

However, the trio say there are a number of less obvious roles where A-players in any organisation may also be assigned to drive competitive advantage.

Cowart, Johnson and Caye identified these in “The 3 Essential Jobs That Most Retention Programs Ignore,” – an article published this month in the Harvard Business Review.

Essential experts
These professionals possess crucial knowledge and take on jobs in R&D, technology, and other areas vital to a firm’s strategic direction, product development, and process efficiency.

They typically don’t want to manage others; they only want to manage themselves. That makes retaining them very different from retaining someone who wants to scale the corporate hierarchy.

Key to retaining them, aside from good compensation, is giving them work that they consider meaningful and that aligns with their values. Being lifelong learners, they also have to have the opportunity to develop their capabilities and be regarded as leaders in their field.

Customer experience creators
These individuals transform visitors into customers and customers into returning customers.

Keep these gems in your company through competitive compensation and, more importantly, organizational reputation.  They need to feel good about their product or service.

Critical contractors
Technically not employees of the company, critical contractors are contingent workers who are nonetheless vital to R&D, marketing and other key processes. They are high-priced free agents with extremely valuable, and rare, expertise that a company doesn’t possess.

To keep them, they must be paid well, given room for development, and be attracted to your firm;s reputation.

“They want to work with winners,” the authors said.

While these jobs are not necessarily on top of the organizational chart – if they are even there at all – it is easy to overlook the importance of putting top talent in them.

HRD Forum is the place for positive industry interaction and welcomes your professional and informed opinion.

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