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Why Companies Fail to Keep Their Best Talent

March 26, 2013

Large companies face challenges when it comes to keeping their best performing employees,  says Eric Jackson in an article in Forbes.

He lists ten reasons  why this happens:

1.  Big Company Bureaucracy.   Talented people often have no choice in policies and procedures. Giving them a voice in how things are done  could keep them on board.

2. Failing to Find an Exciting Project for the Talent. Top talent is not motivated by power and money, but to be a part of something that will “change the world.”  Bosses and HR are usually too busy to sit down and talk  with them about their goals, and work toward a solution in the form of a project that inspires them. But these are important conversations to have with your best performers.

3.  Poor Annual Performance Reviews.  Performance reviews are a good place to have conversations about job satisfaction, and setting goals for the next year.  But many companies forgo this opportunity to connect with the employee.   I often hear from employees that they don’t have reviews, or that they have them only after constantly nagging their boss. Supervisors don’t understand what a wonderful opportunity they have to hear feedback from the employee and to review  their performance and set goals for the next  year.  Employees feel slighted if they perceive that their boss won’t take the time for their review.

4. No Discussion About Career Development.  This is important to talented people because their careers are important to them.  They want to get promoted and do work that they love.

5.  Shifting Whims/Strategic Priorities.  If you give your talent a project to work on, don’t jerk them around by pulling the project a year later, before it’s off the ground.  Good performers want to achieve and be successful.  Give them that opportunity.

6. Lack of Accountability or Telling Them How to Do Their Job.   Check in with them to provide insights, observations and suggestions, but don’t micromanage.  Hold them accountable in the same way as they hold their direct report accountable.

7.  Top Talent Likes to Work with Other Top Talent. Some employers keep low performers on for various reasons.  These people may be difficult, or not a good fit for the job.  If talent views these people as holding them back or holding back the project, or they are just tired of working with a person with a hot temper, they may look for a new job.

8. Not Focusing on the Vision.  What strategies are you using to focus on the mission of the organization?  Recently I gave workshop to an organization and asked about their mission.  There is a vague  mission  statement on the  website, and participants complained that they did not feel they had a mission or vision for their organization, and some added that their work was not fulfilling because of this lack of  mission and vision.

9. Lack of Open-Mindedness.  Sometimes opposing voices to a strategy may be seen as an annoyance.  If the best people are leaving you may be stuck with “yes” people who can’t  or won’t give constructive feedback.  If talent is told their their opinions are not valued or even wanted, they may promptly update their resume.

10.  The Boss.  Their boss is often a reason people give in their exit interviews.  If many people with the same boss leave, it may be time to move the person to a different job.  A person who is a constant irritation to their direct reports can only be effectively coached if they are motivated to change.

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