James Sinclair Interview – Talent Retention With A Difference

By People Leaders | People Leaders Podcast

James Sinclair Interview - Talent Retention With A Difference

In this episode, we interview James Sinclair, the Chief Executive of EnterpriseAlumni. His primary role is in recruitment but he is really making a name for himself teaching organisations how to maintain relationships with staff when they do leave. He also contributes to various media on the future of work and large enterprise innovation and entrepreneurship.

He shared some fantastic insights around how to create diversity in high-performing teams, clear opinions on exit interviews, setting up your own talent pool and tapping on it to future-proof yourself and your organisation.

Episode Highlights:

  • James talks about him being an ENTJ - its gifts and downfalls.

  • "We come to opinions very quickly. We're willing to trust guts, we're willing to run fast and we do listen and we take it on board. We just don't always recognise and we don't always perhaps take the moment to say 'Thank you for your opinion. Thank you for your idea. I hear you.'"

  • EnterpriseAlumni and James' role and responsibilities

  • Letting talent leave without continuing a relationship and keeping the door open is like having an asset walk off your balance sheet

  • James' thoughts about exit interviews

  • "The only real way to know how great you are is to work with you. "

  • "Respecting that leaving is inevitable is such an important thing."

  • "There's a lot of conversation that people don't leave companies, they leave managers some of the time. Other times it's because there's another opportunity that's just better that perhaps you couldn't get in this organisation. Or if you think about career growth, most people grow into a next job that they're not quite ready for"

  • "Treat everyone like a customer at every single step of the way. Your employee experience should be a consumer-like experience. If you wouldn't do it to a customer, don't do it to an employee."

  • James’ opinion on creating diversity for high-performing teams

  • "High-performing teams come from small teams with diverse opinions, little budget and unfair goals and unfair expectations."

  • "Ideas are the easy part. The execution is always the hard part of a high-performing team."

  • "One of the great things you can do with a high-performing employee that you think might get trapped or stopped in your organisation is to kick them out and essentially kick them to another company. And I'm sure, again, my data's a little bit wrong somewhere, but kick them somewhere. Let them get that experience, let them get everything they're looking for and then actively nurture them, actively talk to them and recruit them back into that senior role as and when they're ready because they're going to walk in hot and ready to perform."

  • "You can't judge people on competencies. It doesn't work because two people with identical competencies could be very different performers, thinkers, all of those things."

  • "This concept of having this pool of alumni, whether you're a small business or a Fortune 500, is no different. There's no reason not to maintain some sort of a connection to these people to get the recruiting costs, which are dramatic."

  • "High-performing teams are performance-based results. I don't care if you work for a minute or a hundred hours. Results. That's the business I'm in and I think that's what remote teams are going to suddenly uncover.”

  • "There is a real spotlight on your ability to communicate very clearly as a manager based on the performance outcomes, not just, “These are the things I want you to do”. It's always about, "What is the result that we're looking for?"

  • "That's why they tell you in design thinking, never have a negative view against someone else's idea, even if it's awful, because it just might set off a flash that is a better idea or a new idea. And I'm a massive believer of that."

  • EnterpriseAlumni’s Covid-19 response and recovery.

  • How managers can future-proof themselves.

  • Using F words at work...

  • What advice would James give an organisation who is actually going to move through this new environment? 

  • Talent is the best protection an organisation can have 

  • Don’t thinking of people leaving the organisation as traitors

  • How an organisation can remain in contact with their alumni

  • "It's a privilege for you to stay in contact with us (with a company). Not a right. I think companies need to recognise that."

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