Organizations spend an enormous amount of money finding just the right talent. Even if they don’t employ professional search firms, they still invest a tremendous amount of time and effort identifying, screening, and interviewing candidates. But often, they don’t spend the same amount of energy trying to retain this talent.
As the infographic below makes clear, there are five reasons why talented people leave their jobs.
This is a great checklist for doing a little organizational self-assessment. How are you doing in each of these five areas? To turn this from the negative to the positive, here are five steps you can take to ensure the talent you spend so much time hiring sticks with you.
- Be the best boss you can be. This starts with self-awareness. What’s it like to have you for a boss? Move from awareness to training. Read leadership blogs and books. Take formal courses. Hire a coach. (This is one of the best investments you can ever make.) Finally, solicit feedback from the people who work with you. One of the best ways to do this is via a formal 360° assessment.
- Empower your people to make decisions. Don’t just delegate responsibility; delegate the authority people need to make decisions. You’ll be surprised how much more efficient and effective your team can be without having to funnel everything through you. Yes, you can start small and give people more authority as they earn your trust. Your goal should be to have your people moving forward on their own, with little intervention from you.
- Reduce the amount of office politics. Be a positive role model. Don’t gossip and don’t tolerate gossip. Speak well of others when they aren’t present. If you can’t do that, go directly to the person in question and resolve the issue privately. It works like this: If you sow loyalty, you will reap loyalty. If you so disloyalty, you will reap that, too.
- Recognize people every chance you get. You should do this both formally and informally. For example, when my divisional leaders hit their monthly profit target, I would send a letter to their home (so their spouse could share in it) congratulating them. I also included a gift card of some sort. But informal recognition is critical, too. Make it your aim to catch people doing something right. (One of the best resources for this is The Carrot Principle by Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton.)
- Communicate the financial condition of the company. If people don’t get information about the company directly from you, they will get it somewhere else—often from your competitors or their disgruntled colleagues. You should have a plan for regularly communicating “the good, the bad, and the ugly.” If the information is bad, your people can help improve it. If the information is good, your people can celebrate it. This is why I used to hold quarterly all-employee meetings to communicate the financial progress of the company.
Finally, you should monitor your turnover rate. What percentage of your staff leaves your organization on an annual basis for avoidable reasons. (Don’t count people who transfer because a spouse takes a job in another city, women who leave the workforce to stay at home with their children, etc.) If you will measure retention as a key organizational metric, you can start improving it with specific initiatives.