Attract And Retain Top Talent With The Compassion Mindset

Posted on August 16, 2023 by Nate Regier / 0 comments
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Top of mind for CEOs is the challenge of finding, developing, and retaining top talent. And it’s getting even more difficult in this new, post-pandemic world. Employers face several apparent contradictions when trying to discern what employees want.

Contradictions In What Top Talent Wants

  • Flexibility, but also a clear path to advancement.
  • Strong leadership, but also empathy, vulnerability, and transparency.
  • Freedom to express their own views, but also a connection to organizational mission.
  • Work-life balance, but also a strong sense of team cohesion and community.
  • Strong relationships, but also attention to results.

How should employers respond? This emerging generation of talent may seem impossible to please, like a moving target. Their wants and needs seem contradictory as if working against each other. What are organizations supposed to do?

What Does Top Talent Really Want?

Good news; on the surface, it may look daunting, but only because we view these things as opposites. But they aren’t. Strong leadership is not contradictory to vulnerability and transparency. In fact, the best leaders do both. Freedom to express views isn’t contradictory to the organizational mission. In fact, the most outspoken employees can also become your most loyal brand ambassadors.

When we look deeper, we can see that there’s just one thing employees really want, and it reconciles the apparent contradiction. Compassionate Accountability®. Employees want compassion AND accountability, both in full measure and without compromises.

Attention to relationships and results at the same time is not contradictory. Compassion without accountability gets you nowhere. But accountability without compassion creates toxic, results-at-all-costs cultures that drive good people away.

Compassion and accountability should work as a duet. You can’t have one without the other.  Employees don’t want accountability with “soft edges”, or “tough love” compassion. In their bones, they know there is something better, more evolved. They are looking for a third way that transcends what has been done before. The old world of leadership and engagement will no longer suffice.

Compassion isn't an adjective to soften accountability

Emergence Of The Compassion Mindset

In the last five years, we’ve seen the emergence of an evolved definition and practice of compassion that doesn’t compromise relationships for results. We call it The Compassion Mindset. Foundational to this mindset is an evolved definition of compassion.

Compassion is the practice of demonstrating that people are valuable, capable, and responsible in every interaction. 

This definition merges and reconciles the apparent contradictions mentioned earlier. There is no either-or. With this definition, it can be both-and.

Turn On Your Switches to Harness Top Talent

If organizations adopted this evolved definition of compassion, their job of attracting, developing and retaining top talent becomes much more clear. Treat everyone as valuable, capable, and responsible. Each one is necessary, but not sufficient, to fully realize the potential in your employees.

Three switches of the compassion mindset

Three Switches of The Compassion Mindset

Treat Employees As Valuable

Employee value is innate. Show them empathy and respect. Treat them with dignity. Show that you care about their dreams, passions, and goals. Affirm their experiences without judging. Get vulnerable and connect with them at a human level, regardless of your position or role.

Treat Employees as Capable

Employees are capable of being part of the solutions. Learn about their skills, experiences, and goals. Include them in co-creating the future of your organization. Challenge and guide them. Mentor and coach them. Invest in their personal and professional development. Here’s a great article from Deloitte outlining their research on how to harness the agency of top talent.

Treat Employees as Responsible

No matter what happened before, we share responsibility for what happens next. Stop pointing fingers and start having real conversations about accountability. Set aspirational goals and ask people to step up. Get crystal clear about what matters most and find a connection to your employees’ values.

The Compassion Mindset is a lens through which to evaluate all of your initiatives aimed at building a stronger, more resilient culture and a more sustainable organization.

VCR is the trifecta for building cultures of Compassionate Accountability. The Compassion Mindset is the new core leadership competency and differentiator for the next generation.

Copyright Next Element Consulting, LLC 2023

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