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Keeping Good Talent

The Clifton Review

The Clifton Review is a tri-weekly column that examines the question of the Clifton project along with the evolution of the war between two billionaires. We covered the start of this war with articles describing the battle over easement rights, the mysterious burning of a home, the blocks to rebuilding, and countless questionable court filings.

The 2018 series salutes fashion mogul Peter Nygard’s Golden Jubilee detailing his rags to riches story and incredible business success over these past fifty years. The Clifton Review will take an inside look at how he did it.

Keeping Good Talent

By P.J. Malone

So what does it take to keep good talent in an organization?

At the risk of belaboring the point of focus—but let’s face it, who best to learn business success principles from if not a man who turned a struggling company into an 800-million-dollar enterprise and made it a 50-year success—how did fashion mogul Peter Nygard manage to get seventy people and many others to remain loyal for so many years?

As a reminder, Peter Nygard recently gave each employee, who had been working with his company for twenty-five years or more, a 10-thousand-dollar gift in celebration of his 50th Anniversary. There were seventy of them who received the gift.

Here’s some insight into what Nygard might be doing right to command such loyalty, not just from those seventy, but the many others as well who are long serving and have been with his company 10 years, 15 years and more. Two professors, one of them a Harvard Business School professor, wrote an article in Forbes entitled “How To Keep Employees Loyal To Your Company” that sheds some light on this.

They suggest that it is essential that not only should an organization have a mission, a vision and a ‘bedrock of core values’, but that these should be understood, valued and owned by everyone within the organization.

The professors cite a statistic from Gallup that reflects the importance of these factors in a company:

“A study by Gallup found that 83% of employees reported it was “very important” to believe their life had a purpose; talented, people want to work for a company with compelling values and a reputation for making a difference.” (Bertrand Moingeon, Professor at HEC Paris & Amy C. Edmondson, Professor at Harvard Business School)

In discussing the mission, the authors suggest that the mission, which refers to the purpose, aim and vocation, answers the question of ‘why’. “Why does this company exist?”

“And answering that question well is essential because a compelling reply will in turn help employees answer the key questions they will at some point ask themselves, such as ‘Why am I here?’ and ‘What do I want to do with my life that matters?’”

This point is demonstrated in Nygard’s organization. One-long-term employee once expressed, “What I really like about NYGARD is that the focus is on making the whole woman feel beautiful. I love being able to contribute to that!”

Moingeon & Edmondson describe the next element of vision as answering the question of ‘what’ in terms of what the organization wants to achieve. As they explain, “This represents its ambition, the mobilizing challenge within the framework of its mission.”

The element representing core values answers the question of ‘how’. The authors state, “for the vision to become reality, every organization must undertake actions within a strategic framework.  And it’s here that values have a decisive role to play because these enduring beliefs help answer the ‘How?’ question, namely how the organization will actually achieve what it has set out to do.”

Stay tuned for more insights into how Nygard demonstrates these elements within his organization that help to motivate so many of his employees to be long serving.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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