Keeping Talent Engaged


(By Buzz Knight) As we wind our way thru a tumultuous year, it’s important to stop and think about one of our most important assets, TALENT. How are you keeping your talent engaged?

How strong of a bond have you solidified with your talent? Does your talent believe you have their back and will they run thru walls for you?

Some thoughts on how to do this at a time it is more important than ever that they feel good about the work they are doing.

1. Share the state of the state with them on a regular basis. This includes pertinent ratings results and goals, revenue goals, social meeting engagement goals. Sometimes we take for granted that everybody has the scorecard and knows where we stand and that is not always completely true. Communication is a key priority in keeping talent engaged especially in these times that can be so isolating.

2. Acknowledge great examples of flawless execution. This can be another instance of what we as programmers take for granted and don’t remember to acknowledge their talent. Flawless execution is always a top priority whether it be: stop set placement, great storytelling, the art of the tease or in general spectacular content “in the moment.” You can never overdo acknowledging flawless execution and it will help foster great talent engagement.

3. Do you listen to how talent currently themselves is feeling about their work? Sometimes just listening and letting talent talk is the most valuable way you can engage with them. This is especially important now as in many cases talent continues to work remotely and they can be feeling isolated like many of us due to Covid restrictions. Ask good questions but make sure you are a good listener and you are willing to hear the answers.

4. Do you find opportunities to let your talent dream big? Give them the freedom to think of what they have previously viewed as impossible. Your job as a leader is to give talent the opportunity to dream and to help them realize their goals.

5. Discuss what talent is engaged with outside of their radio world. By understanding the rhythm of their life you have a better chance of appealing to their most passionate interests. Sometimes this discovery just happens in casual conversation and that’s ok as well!

6. Make it fun/not a chore for talent to be with you. If they dread the experience with you they likely will be tuning you out. Be sensitive that you aren’t droning on for the sake of conversation.

7. Practice empathetic leadership with your talent. If they know you understand truly where “they are coming from” the better the engagement in the relationship. By understanding talent in more detail you’ll understand the right buttons to push.

8. Knowing your talent. Knowing who talent is engaged and entertained by is a helpful window inside their thought process. If you understand who has influenced or mentored talent throughout their career you’ll be more effective in managing them moving forward.

9. Care about your talent. Make sure talent knows how obsessed you are with details of their show as a specific way to demonstrate that you care about them. There is nothing worse than talent feeling you aren’t paying close attention to the work they are producing.

10. Positive reinforcement. Don’t forget to fill talents “bucket” up with positive reinforcement on a regular basis. This is such an underutilized technique and it is critical to building a positive and productive mindset for talent. You have to be a straight shooter but keep the balance of the conversation positive and upbeat.

Buzz Knight is the CEO of Buzz Knight Media and can be reached by e-mail at [email protected]


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here