What are the leadership tips to prevent good employees from leaving
Business leaders across the U.S. are struggling to attract and retain top-tier talent. Nearly 48 million people quit their job last year, and this trend shows no sign of slowing in 2022. In May of this year, 11.3 million job vacancies were reported. Reasons for this mass employee exodus range from individuals leaving for higher-paying and more flexible positions to following a life-long career dream or caring for a loved one.
Regardless of the impetus, in today’s competitive job market, employers must try hard to keep their top-tier employees from leaving while actively hiring new talent.
There are various organizational benefits to retaining your employees, including reduced costs, improved efficiencies, maintaining company culture and client satisfaction. I’ve served in a variety of leadership roles over the course of my career, and to be successful, these are the top tips to keep in mind when looking to prevent good employees from leaving your organization.
Retaining great people starts with leaders. Ultimately, people choose to leave or remain based on the individuals they work with. A common mistake, beginning with the most senior teams, is to overweigh expertise versus motivation. In my experience, “why” you are successful is just as important as a history of success.
Mercenary behavior, where the only genuine concern is about personal gain or reward, eats away at culture, right down to the smallest teams, leading to disconnected, uninvested, and lower performance teammates — and to the best people choosing to be elsewhere.
Most people will willingly dedicate more time and talent to an enterprise if they are treated as part of a team. When information is isolated to small groups or to just the most senior leaders, it erodes this opportunity. If only good news ever gets shared or insight is more about maintaining control rather than making good choices, the organization loses. Communications crafted to deflect questions or obscure the truth also create the risk of surprise and loss of trust.
Leadership teams that share openly, admit mistakes, and celebrate success stand a far better chance of attracting and retaining high-performance teammates.
Certainly, leaders who blame others for failure create difficult cultural aftershocks that trickle throughout an organization. However, it’s a mistake to believe that simply being accountable as a senior leader is enough. Organizations without clarity on “roles and goals” often create uneven performance that is starkly apparent — and frustrating — to those who do put in the extra effort. Accountability must be a cultural phenomenon, not just a leadership objective.
When performance and rewards are aligned, it creates a positive feedback loop that supports the growth of individuals, teams, and the business. More importantly, it leads to the retention of precisely the individuals most likely to reinforce long-term success.
As a leader, I’ve always considered myself someone who has genuinely and deliberately invested time in getting to know as much as possible about my teams. I view the fabric of relationships, hopes, and motivations, particularly those not work-related, as essential to building a great culture. How do you motivate a team if you don’t know what they care about?
The COVID-19 pandemic has been eye-opening; much of what I knew about people was superficial. No matter how well it fits a team, an office space doesn’t provide much insight, outside of work, into day-to-day life. Instead of seeing the transition to the virtual workspace as a negative, use this window into your employees’ lives to learn more about their children, spouses, grandparents, pets, and pastimes. A few minutes of connection goes a long way.
Ultimately, when it comes to attracting and retaining high-performance individuals, success starts at the top. As a leader, if you are not holding yourself accountable, fostering a team-based culture, and getting to know and understand the people who work for you, this will trickle down to managers and other leaders and be reflected in your organization. Maintaining relationships and upholding a culture where teams can thrive will be essential for keeping employees within the fold and growing your organization.