Talent hoarding and its effects on the post pandemic workforce

In the post pandemic era, employees are less likely to stay at organisations that don't enable them to develop. Talent hoarding is one of the key reasons why organisations can’t retain their employees. Here is how to battle it.


Talent hoarding often begins with the best intentions, and many managers do not even realise that they may be exhibiting signs of the same. So what is ‘talent hoarding’?

When managers either intentionally or unconsciously retain their best employees to fulfil their short-term goals, they are said to be hoarding talent. In doing so, they eventually end up damaging the personal development of their employees.

Jaikrishna B, president – group HR, Amara Raja Group, admits, “It is human to hoard one’s best talent and be possessive about them.”

However, when employees are not encouraged to expand their skill set, or allowed exposure aligned with their interests or given the kind of experience they yearn for, they are led to believe that their immediate managers’ need for their contribution outweighs the desire for their growth. Ultimately, this pushes them to consider leaving the organisation and joining elsewhere in search of what they truly desire.

One of the most cited studies, Gallup’s 2017 report on the State of the American Workplace, revealed that more than half of all employees surveyed were either actively searching or on the lookout for new opportunities elsewhere.

New-age employees seem to be actively searching for other job opportunities in a bid to pursue what their heart desires and develop their own selves.

According to a new report from Deloitte, 47 per cent of Gen Z and 54 per cent of Millennial employees leave their organisations within a year if they feel they aren’t being heard at work.

Millennials at the workplace ranked ‘opportunity’ as the biggest reason for leaving. A significant 52 per cent of those would’ve stayed on with their employers had they been offered the right incentives, says a report from Gallup.

Clearly, it is up to the organisations to work with their leaders to find a way to mitigate this issue and ensure that the top talent is retained.

Here are some ways for them to go about this.

“Every leader’s responsibility is to continually form, storm, norm and perform their assigned tasks from time to time.”

Jaikrishna B, president – group HR, Amara Raja Group

Change the culture

Jaikrishna B emphasises on the importance of organisations moulding their culture and policies such that the tendency of employees to leave is eliminated.

“Having a culture where managers and leaders are only allowed to consider their teams as temporary is critical. Every leader’s responsibility is to continually form, storm, norm and perform their assigned tasks from time to time.”

A manager’s basic instinct is to retain the highest-performing employees for the most critical tasks. To combat this, organisations should create a detailed internal talent marketplace; one that details the traits, abilities and interests of workers from around the organisation.

Doing so will enable managers to spot the sea of talent within the organisation and motivate them to utilise the human capital within the company. This will also help rotate employees who wish to be moved, freeing up space for those who want to move up.

Changing the culture and opening new opportunities through the talent marketplace is a win-win situation for both the organisations and the employees. While the organisations have a higher probability of retaining talent, managers gain access to seasoned internal employees who are eager to build new skills, and the employees themselves have increased visibility and access to new opportunities for growth.

Showcase clear avenues of change

Organisations have to play an active role in helping managers truly understand the benefits of talent management and rotation programmes.

According to Jaikrishna B, “Organisations need to help leaders truly shift their behaviour towards embracing talent mobility and dislodge the possessiveness. The crux here is to curb the tendency to hoard.”

Google’s Bungee Assignment Programme, for instance, is an initiative where employees who take leave of absence are covered by employees within the organisation, full-time.

This allows workers who wish to explore a different area of the business an opportunity to do so while also taking over the responsibility of the person on leave to ensure continuity in work. For managers, it provides a clear idea of what talent rotation may look like, allowing them to set meaningful expectations that help build talent-sharing muscle.

Looking at ways to encourage company-wide collaboration is a great way for managers to see past the teams they have at their disposal.

Organisations should look at ways to encourage employees to contribute towards projects all across the organisation and not limit themselves to supporting only the teams they are in. To make this happen, HR leaders have to devise strategies to inspire the workforce to work together in new and dynamic ways.

They can do so by declaring certain projects as company-wide collaborations or hosting off- site activities that shuffle the employees into different teams.

Managers should be able to clearly see that talent sharing is an important part of the company culture.

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