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Nurturing Talent

In the science world, as in all technical fields these days, there’s a strong emphasis on the need to find the best talent. 

by Mark Lanfear
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In the science world, as in all technical fields these days, there’s a strong emphasis on the need to find the best talent. That’s not surprising, given the fact that most hiring managers are well aware of the growing shortage of people working in all STEM jobs. As baby boomers prepare to retire, and as higher educational institutions continue to produce less people who are willing to invest their time in the study of these critical professions, competition for talent will only become stronger and more challenging.

When companies are able to win over the best talent—whether they’re large corporations or small labs serving a very specific purpose—they’ve definitely won the battle. But they haven’t won the war. That’s because the art of retaining that talent is much more nuanced and complex. And it’s not just about winning another single battle. It’s really a marathon in understanding how to nurture your most valuable human capital so your organization will be well equipped to win the ever-evolving and continuous war on the global competitive stage.

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In this age of global competition, when even small labs are competing on a massive scale, it’s this human capital that will be your most valuable company resource for waging and winning every battle.

So this is the challenge, and it’s a perennial one: being able to nurture talent in a way that will make them willing to stay with the organization— and stay that course—in order to have the maximum positive impact on your business. That’s definitely not easy, considering there are so many employment opportunities for the best workers in technical fields such as science and engineering. Though the job market continues to be tough for many people, those who have the coveted technical skills are truly able to chart their own course. As a result, old ideas around traditional models of employment, like the 40-hour workweek, have already begun to significantly erode. Alternative models of employment, like contingent arrangements, are instead providing a lot of flexibility for modern workers who may enjoy the freedom of guiding their own career and moving from place to place in order grow in, change, and influence their profession.

But we know that these modern professionals also still hunger for a workplace that places a premium on the professional growth and well-being of its talent. After all, going to work isn’t just about making money, especially in the scientific world. Ultimately, it’s about making a difference with the kinds of products, innovations, and ideas that have the power to truly impact humankind in a positive way. This is why now, more than ever, the smartest and brightest employees don’t want to just perform “tasks” at a job.

They’re not looking only for a paycheck. They want the possibility of deriving true meaning and opportunity from the work they do.

Easier said than done. And yet the art of nurturing talent isn’t really so complicated. Recognizing and understanding just a few of the principles I’ve described above that are behind this new, more modern vision of the workplace is the first step in developing a plan to nurture the talent you’ve already got—and want.

There are endless avenues an organization could take to create a nurturing atmosphere. In fact, there are entire consulting firms that specialize in this endeavor. Workforce solutions companies that help organizations find and retain the best talent also are at the forefront of finding solutions to nurture the talent you already have.

However you go about it, though, the benefits and results are often universal. When any organization has a real plan for recognizing the worth of its talent—and helping that talent grow and flourish within their roles—that organization will experience better productivity, a workforce with staying power, and a fighting chance for winning its own personal war.