Tending the Talent: Think Perennially

    By Jonathan Poston | Small Business

    Growing Talent

    Spring is here, and people everywhere are starting gardens. It’s not as easy as it sounds. Besides getting dirty hands, aching backs, and a sunburn, there are some serious decisions to make; one being whether to buy ready-to-plant starters, guaranteed to perform, or to take your chances with great grandma’s forgotten “heirloom” attic seeds, which may turn out great, or force a gardener, mid-summer, to ferry veggies from the grocery for the rest of the season. It’s the same choice businesses make when they hire talent: Sprout it from seed or drop in ready-to-bear-fruit starters? Here are a few garden tips from a “head” hunter’s perspective.


    It’s easy to get lost in a reverie, envisioning your business’s culture fermenting organically, seeded by fresh, hungry graduates primed to change the world. They are cheap, will work hard, and this game plan helps the economy--how much better can it be? Remember great grandma’s seeds - the ones that haven’t been tested - their “fruiting” ratio is likely to disappoint. And, without the careful hand of a practiced gardener to wean them from the nice cozy comfort of a climate controlled attic, nestled tightly in a thick silk bag, these new “seeds” left squirming in the worm-filled cold world are likely to jump plots unless they feel the careful hand of a practiced gardener at their sides.


    Hiring good people isn’t cheap, and they may even infect the company culture with preconceived expectations and habits. A well established and effective HR department or help is necessary to make sure money is well spent on attracting skilled talent, but generally high end people are very professional, and don’t jump around. They are interviewing companies to which they’ve applied just as diligently as they are being interviewed. However, it’s easy to fall into the trap of attracting too much senior talent (which drains the coffers and disallows a healthy, dynamic cycle of mentoring, growth, and transition).

    Mix & Match

    Has anyone ever told you not to put all your seeds in one hole? The secret to tending a healthy talent garden is diversification. Avoid the temptation of creating a “crop” monoculture. So, small start-ups might hire more college graduates, but try not to pull from just one bag; great work cultures thrive on diversity. And, be sure to attract senior talent to mentor the rows of juniors seeking guidance. Larger corporations might consider embracing the concept of the “Lift out,” where a group that has already been groomed and woven together into a tightly-knit, high functioning team, is simply recruited into another corporate eco-system to continue working their magic.

    Think Perennially

    Companies which can safely stand back to admire the rewards of a fresh crop of talent soaking in the challenges and yielding jolly green fruits of cash, can’t stop there or the cycle of success will wilt and eventually migrate. Think perennially. That means taking the long view, and understanding how to keep your talent collective well-adapted, and perpetually challenged.

    For more talent tips, contact Drymos Group LLC at info -at- or at or follow us on social media at: and

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