What Causes Top Talent to Leave? And How Can You Stop Them?

January 24th, 2014

When top performers leave a company, there’s a domino effect. It’s a huge financial hit when you consider the costs of replacing a good employee. It’s a blow to morale, as others are left to pick up the slack while a replacement is found. Especially when such a departure is unexpected, few things are as disruptive to an organization.

Yet, it’s not unusual. In a recent Forbes study, 30 percent of respondents reported that they planned to leave their jobs within the next 12 months.

Here’s why top talent leaves, and what you can do to prevent it from happening:

Be a Leader

Businesses don’t fail, products don’t fail, and teams don’t fail. Leaders fail. And if you fail to lead, your best employees will seek leadership elsewhere.

Another statistic from the Forbes research was that 40 percent of employees don’t respect the person they report to in their jobs.

Regardless of tenure, title or position, employees who voluntarily leave an organization generally do so as a result of disconnecting with leadership. Make sure you connect with your top talent by:

  • Helping them unleash their passions. Human nature makes it difficult to walk away from things one is passionate about.
  • Constantly challenging their minds. Smart people don’t like to live – or work – in an atmosphere of boredom or monotony.
  • Engaging their creativity. Great talent is wired to improve, enhance and add value. And smart leaders don’t put their people in boxes. Instead, they open the door and let them run.
  • Developing their skills. No matter how talented or experienced a person is, there’s always room for growth.
  • Giving them a voice. Talented people have good thoughts, ideas and observations. So listen to them – or someone else will.
  • Advancing them. People will accept more work and become more productive – and more loyal – if the change means more responsibility and ownership.
  • Honoring your commitment to them. Promises made are worthless. Promises kept are invaluable. Never break trust with those you lead.

Create the Right Culture

Another telling statistic: Half of all employees surveyed said their employers’ values differed from their own.

  • Be clear what you’re trying to accomplish as an organization. Not only when it comes to the financial bottom line, but in terms of your overall corporate vision. What is your purpose? What do you bring to your community and to the world? Be sure your vision aligns with the values that motivate your top performers.
  • In numerous other studies, the leading reason cited by employees who left their companies was “the job wasn’t what I expected.” Before you hire a person, arrange for them to talk with current employees to help ensure a cultural fit.

Recognize a Job Well Done

An astounding 70 percent of employees surveyed by Forbes said they did not feel appreciated by their employers.

People come to work for a paycheck, but it’s far from the only reason. If you fail to care about and recognize employees at a human level, they will eventually leave you, no matter how much money they make.

  • Create a results-based system for compensation and bonuses tied to business goals.
  • Establish a similar process for performance and recognition awards.

For more ideas on retaining your top talent and related workforce success strategies, contact the team at Select Group, Inc., today. We look forward to hearing from you!

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