February 09, 2016 – Colleen Niese - Insights

Want to Stop Saying Goodbye to Your Top Talent?

Recently I had a CEO complain to me loudly that he’s tired of his employees moving on to competitors after his company spent time and money training and developing talent. This perspective always strikes me; what hiring managers seem to miss in this logic is the employee exit is actually the last chapter to this particular story, not the first.
Study after study for decades confirms that employees leave for three reasons: loss of interest in the job, loss of respect for their boss and disagreement over the company’s direction. Note money is not a top three, it’s typically toward the bottom of the top ten list.

Want your talent retention to improve? Pay attention to how your company supports employees’ top three career needs.

Loss of interest in the job. We recently interviewed a candidate who was promised an incentive bonus for every new business deal he brought to the table. When he brought his first lead forward, his hiring manager told him never to do that again, that is was her job to develop business and he was only to manage operations. Oops. It’s a pretty simple request from employees: if their boss promises they are responsible for something, stick to the promise and defer from adding, subtracting, changing core responsibilities without prior discussion to those affected.

Loss of respect for their boss. Best advice to mitigate your folks looking around for their next job? Do what you say you are going to do. People believe what they experience over what they hear every time. Time and again, candidates share some sort of story related to how their boss promised one thing and did something entirely different or did nothing at all. Meeting large commitments, say promising a promotion and not waiting six months to move on it, to the small, like making a meeting on time, consistently is one of the best retention tools out there. It demonstrates respect for your team members, and shows that integrity is one of your fundamental leadership competencies.

This one’s a bit tricky in that not all of us have a direct hand in determining our company’s priority and/or strategic direction. Where we do have control is how we communicate those imperatives. Transparency is your best friend in this particular leadership aspect. Discuss where the company has been and where it’s going with your folks to the degree that they need in order to do their jobs – it’s called shared alignment and when an employee, especially a high performer, has a direct line of sight between what she produces and the company’s bottom line, she will stay so that she can continue to develop her own skills while contributing in meaningful ways.

To learn more about how to develop your leadership team’s core competencies, contact The Marlyn Group at letsconnect@marlyngroupllc.com. uDrive subscribers have access to several leadership development templates in both the Human Resources and Training & Ops Support libraries.