Losing Your Top Talent

Losing Your Top Talent

If you’ve been following the articles published here, then you know we’re all about showing you how to not only hire but also retain the top talent you need to take your business to the next level. Tackling turnover is one of the most important gifts you can give to your business. Improving your hiring practices and implementing solid retention-boosting programs and systems are necessary parts of the equation. But so is making sure you’re not shooting yourself in the foot from the start. You’d be surprised at how many of the following scenarios actually play out at companies everywhere. In short, these are the quickest ways to lose your top talent:

1. Micromanaging. It’s a time-tested truism that your top talent performs better when they’re given lots of autonomy to get the job done. Still, the temptation to micromanage is always there, and far too many employers fall prey to it. Just remember that your best employees will find it very frustrating – so much so that it doesn’t take much micromanaging before they’ll be packing their bags and moving on.

2. Spying. This is one of the worst forms of micromanaging. It sounds extreme, but when your upper-level managers or company leadership are stressed out about achieving the right outcomes needed from their employees, the temptation to spy on them becomes very real and surprisingly strong. But if great employees find out they’re being spied on, you can bet they will beat a path to the nearest exit and never return – and that becomes your company’s loss. Believe it or not, it happens more often than you might think.

3. Dishonesty. Few things anger employees more than discovering they’ve been lied to or deceived. To get peak performance from your top talent, there needs to be a solid foundation of mutual respect and trust. Without those, you simply won’t be able to count on them sticking around.

4. Failing to recognize. Recognizing the contributions of your best employees frequently and meaningfully is a key best practice for boosting both morale and retention. And yet most employers are terrible at it. According to WorldatWork, only 12% of companies offer any kind of training for managers in how to go about recognizing employees (source). Even among companies who do offer recognition, it’s typically something along the lines of “years of service” certificates. That’s nice, but it certainly won’t have a significant positive impact on either morale or retention. Positive feedback to your best employees needs to happen often and in a variety of ways. Everyone in the company should be aware of the great example they set.

5. Failing to reward. It’s one thing to publically recognize the contributions of your top talent, but they also need to be rewarded for their great performance. There are all kinds of small (or large) perks you can hand out for jobs well done, whether it’s event tickets, reserved parking, gift cards, and so on. Keep the perks flowing to keep people happy. And when it comes to compensation and bonuses, these should clearly differentiate employees by performance.

6. Ignoring feedback. Your best employees have ideas about how to improve company operations and practices. They want to be heard, and they want to see their ideas acted on. You owe it to them to make it happen. Failing to act on their insights not only disempowers them, it hurts the bottom line of your business as well. Forget about the “suggestion box” and really listen to what your top talent has to say. They’ll appreciate you all the more for it and continue to give you’re their best.

As you can see, there are lots of ways to facilitate the exit of your best employees out the door, and far too many companies are constantly engaged in these practices. But if you want to tackle turnover and boost retention of your A-Players, consider this your “not do” list.

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