Why do talented people leave? This question should be front of mind for managers and HR practitioners alike. Especially if your organization is operating in turbulent times where key talent plays an important role in survival.
If the war on talent has taught us anything, it is that money does not buy loyalty. However, money can expose a lack of loyalty. Many high-performing employees have been ‘poached’ by competitors willing to pay over the odds for your talent. Yet, we have also seen talented employees ‘jumping ship’ to positions without that alluring price tag. So, if it’s not the money that makes people stay ... what is it?
The answer I believe is simple. We need to give employees a reason to want to stay, despite challenges, and temptation.
There has been an ongoing debate on whether people quit their jobs – or quit their bosses. Certainly, having a bad boss remains one of the key reasons why employees jump ship. They leave when they are being micro-managed, disrespected, disregarded, under-valued, silenced, bullied, unsupported, and such. However, many employees don’t quit their bosses, they quit their work. They leave when their jobs are no longer fun, challenging, fulfilling, sustainable, or inspirational. Sadly, their managers are often to blame for this too.
Beyond developing personal and inter-personal leadership skills that make managers ‘good bosses’, they must also learn public leadership skills. This ability to influence the wider organizational culture, systems, and processes is vital for managers to retain talented employees. Ensuring roles are shaped to value and use personal strengths and providing potential for career growth is key in talent retention.
If managers can make all the difference in retaining talent, we need to ask ourselves what it is we need to be doing? We need to know why our employees joined us. Why do they come to work ready to over-perform? What do they value about their work and their communities at work? Then we need to get some basics right.
Here I would like to highlight the top five recommendations from my research Lessons leaders need to learn from those living through change.