The War for Talent: It’s Time to Capture the Heart

The best talent may be closer than you think. No, really! Have you considered recently that your best recruitment strategy is retention? What untapped talent is already in your office or on your weekly Zoom call?

Most of us don’t slow down long enough to look and consider.

You might be thinking, “I don’t have time for that; we have work that has to get done.” With today’s talent war, you may need to revisit your priorities and focus on the health of your current team.

In Getting Employees to Fall in Love with Your Company, Dr. Jim Harris lays out five principles backed by research and employed by some of America’s most beloved companies, including Walt Disney, Southwest Airlines, Marriott, and Ben & Jerry’s. These five principles are:

  • Capture the Heart
  • Provide Open Communication
  • Create Partnerships
  • Drive Learning
  • Promote Employee Action

Much can be stated about each of these, but the Capture the Heart principle is worth a deeper dive as it sets the foundation for the other four principles.

Let’s start with some hard truth. We all wish Capture the Heart could be as simple as the rules to capture the flag.

Capturing the heart certainly takes stamina and focus, but it takes a lot more than that. To start, it takes empathy.

Empathy is defined as the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. It is the ability and willingness to relate – not just cognitively or emotionally, but spiritually – to what someone else is feeling.

Note a key word here: feelings. Empathy requires you to enter into the feelings of another person. Feelings come from the heart. Like it or not, capturing the heart of your team often starts by engaging your own heart.

If you’re not ready to go there (we get it!), let’s think about it another way. What are some ways we can “Capture the Heart” of our team? How can we communicate empathy to our co-workers?

One of the biggest ways to develop empathy is by asking ourselves, “how would I feel if I were in their shoes?”

To be empathetic, we must seek to enter into another’s experience without falling into the trap of fixing, advising, minimizing or correcting. To truly walk in another’s shoes, we need to be curious about their experience of walking in their shoes. This is a heart-felt choice to engage intimately with others, providing a safe space for another to be vulnerable in our presence and to be valued and heard.

While empathy has always been an important leadership skill, research supports that it is at the forefront of importance now. Why now? The effects of the pandemic and the uncertainties that it presents daily has increased stress levels and sent mental health into a decline.

Are you shocked? We didn’t think you would be. We know this to be true as we all anticipate these effects will characterize the post-pandemic era. So what we’re saying is this: the need for leaders to become practitioners of empathy is not going away anytime soon.

One of the best tools for learning how to “walk in another’s shoes” and begin to capture the heart is the Enneagram. The problem we all face is slowing down enough to understand the other person’s viewpoint. The Enneagram shows us nine different ways that people view the world. It offers a system for growing in knowledge of self and knowledge of others.

In short: the Enneagram helps make empathy attainable.

Capturing the heart of your talent doesn’t come easy. But with the help of the Enneagram, you can take greater steps to engage your workforce and retain your talent.

Find out how Rise by Inflammo is using the Enneagram to offer coaching, cohorts and workshops to get you and your team connected on a heart level. Because growth calls for more than spreadsheets and math. Strong teams matter.