This Guest paper was originally published in the January, 2016 PM World Journal.
With some updating of the text, it is reproduced here with the permission of the author.
Copyright Stacy Goff, © 2016.
Published here June 2016

PART 1 | Our First Insights into the Stairway to Talent
A "Driving" Example of Talent Progression | Achieving Performance
Role Competences: Another Dimension for Talent Development
Talent Management Area 3: Managing and Retaining Talent
Maintaining Team Motivation and Morale | A Talented, Appropriate, Recovery Action

Maintaining Team Motivation and Morale

Herzberg's Hygiene and Motivation factors still apply today. Make sure you are applying them! We have already mentioned recognition and rewards, and the rewards need not be monetary. Teams need rapid response to project needs, with 360 communication, your visible presence, plus personal "Thank You"s! A barriers-buster mentality consistently demonstrated. Your service as an "Umbrella" for unbearable pressures from above. Open-ended commitment: "How else can we help?" These are the messages that great leaders send their teams.

When Losing Talent, Act Decisively and Wisely

I position the issue of Talent Loss as basic risk management. We must plan for, and act, just as we would with any other project risk. So we establish Prevent actions: Hedge for Talent Capture. Intervene actions: Act for Talent Transfer, and Recover actions: Scavenge to mitigate. In all cases, we rely on Talent Collateral: The verbal and written documentation (see the starting-point list at right) that reflects escaping Explicit Knowledge, in the case of losing or lost Talent. Note that this list suggests that we need to assure adequate and appropriate governance; some teams disdain documentation that does not help them deliver their results.

A question I addressed in a recent web conference session on this topic was: When we lose team members, how do we: a) Transfer knowledge; b) Maintain motivation; c) Keep momentum? I listed scenarios for typical project Talent Losses:

  1. Internal Customer on team reassigned elsewhere
  2. Project Manager of strategic project leaves company
  3. One-third of team moved to a "higher priority" project
  4. A key developer in a Scrum-based Agile team leaves
  5. Project Sponsor promoted; she/he leaves your division

What would these do to your project? How would you respond? Would the project survive? I supplied a series of suggested actions for each situation.

Taking the Internal Customer issue, here was the impact, and my suggestions:

Talent areas lost: Product, Enterprise Context, and Interpersonal Actions to consider

  • Replace with another savvy customer; assign the new member's other job responsibilities to another qualified person from their workgroup;
  • Manage several weeks' overlap (not always possible, but smart);
  • Establish rapport, and perform teambuilding for fast onboarding;
  • Review & Discuss: Business Requirements, Validation Plan, Organizational Change Management status, Benefits Realization, Stakeholder Management Plan.

Each of the scenarios and recommended responses evoked great interest and questions from our participants.

Talent Management Area 3: Managing and Retaining Talent  Talent Management Area 3: Managing and Retaining Talent

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