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Three Things Leaders Can Do To Keep Top Talent

Updated: Apr 23, 2020

It’s a typical Monday morning and your team is ready to kick ass…or so you think. Then you get the email leaders dread. One of your top employees resigns. It seems like it came out of nowhere, but for them, it was months (maybe years) in the making. No matter how much they try to tell you how sudden it happened, it was premeditated for quite some time. According to Gallup, 75% of employees have left their job due to management and not the position itself. But how can you mitigate this from happening? Here are three things leaders can do to keep top talent.

Give Genuine Appreciation

No, this is not the constant “atta boys” and lavish amounts of praise that I’m talking about. Take the time to send a quick note or make a personal phone call, highlighting a specific task or accomplishment. Or even better, compliment specifics that were well done in front of their peers. For instance, compliment a top salesperson for the massive account they’ve closed and how it will positively affect the company for years to come at a company event. Former Gallup chairman, Donald Clifton, discovered that employees perform best at a 3-to-1 ratio of positive interactions to negative interactions. Anything less, and performance drops off. Take the time to acknowledge those who add value to your company, and mean it.

Err on the Side of Paying More

Top talent is constantly shopping around for better offers. They know their worth. Trying to negotiate a salary offer on the lower end will never retain a top employee. And rightfully so. These people are the movers and shakers within an organization. They are the ones that will generate the most profit and bring innovative ideas to the table. Top talent is a strength and a point of differentiation for companies. As with anything in life, you pay for what you get. Give an unexpected bonus, rule in favor of the employee with a “bank error,” or pay salaries on the higher end of the market. Never mess with an employee’s well-being. Actions that show you are protecting the bottom line will ultimately hurt it. And for God’s sake, don’t make the compensation structure complex or difficult to calculate. Especially for commission-driven positions. Be transparent. At the end of the day, if you don’t pay well, someone else will.

Let Go And Stop Micromanaging

I can’t comprehend how this is still a thing. Employees should be compensated and held accountable for their results, not the number of hours worked. Talented employees don’t need their hands held. They are problem solvers by nature. Look, I’m all for guidance and parameters, but constant hand-holding or disruption is unacceptable. Explain to them “this is where we are, and this is where we need to get to.” Then get out of their way! Let them find the solution. You’d be surprised at how many great ideas would come about if management would put their egos away and let their people be successful. Micromanagement stifles innovation and productivity, and it kills employee morale. You hired top talent, so let them do their thing.

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