Shut the door on your way out - The worrying trend of letting talent disappear

By Adam Burton

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Adam Burton on Talent Retention

What I would like to talk about today is how easily some companies let their most talented employees leave without putting up a fight to keep them and then wonder why things start going wrong. Sorry for the football analogies but I can’t help myself.
 

Football Analogy I

Just say you are the owner of a mid table football club and you have several star players. Now you know that they will be wanted by other clubs who would, potentially, give them more money to play for them. But losing them would disrupt the team; it will leave a big hole that will be difficult, if not impossible to fill. So what do you do? The easiest thing maybe is to increase their salary and hope for the best. Will this work some of the time, hell yeah but maybe there is more that should be looked at.

All of the companies I have worked for have had ‘superstars’, you know the type, the ones that do the most deals, the ones that win the prizes, the ones who get their hair ruffled by the boss as he walks past. These guys and girls are the people that others look up to. Their colleagues want to emulate their success, they want to become them.

As an owner of a company surely this is an amazing natural occurrence that needs little help to grow. On the one hand you have your superstars bringing in the bucks and you have their colleagues all wanting to be them and hopefully putting in the extra work in order to get there. I mean, c’mon how absolutely incredible is a situation like that, people motivating people basically without any management. Well hold on a minute, this amazing situation may have evolved organically but it needs watching closely as if you lose these superstars who will the workforce look up to, where is their motivation, oh yeah it just walked out the door.

I don’t know if companies become lazy or complacent believing, foolishly, that their superstars will never leave and will continue to inspire the troops. They may even be aware that this wont last forever but do not have the time/skills/interest in stepping in before that notice letter is handed over.

So what can you do? Firstly money is not always the answer. People are lured away from their jobs everyday and money has very little to do with it, sometimes it has nothing to do with it, imagine that. Everyone is different, everyone will be led by different wants and needs and you need to make sure that you understand what drives your superstars. Sometimes it can be small changes that make the world of difference. You must remember that we spend more time at work than we do with our loved ones. If there is something that bothers us at work, even something small we have to endure it 50-60 hours per week. Over time this small problem becomes the reason for a change of jobs and you losing an important part of your company. Your employees are the reason your company exists and you need to protect these assets at all cost.


Football Analogy II

I believe that the best football managers out there are experts in ‘man management’. This, in essence, means that they understand that everyone is different and have the ability to treat people in this way. It sounds easy doesn’t it? But so many managers/owners fail to employ this concept. People want to be treated as an individual, they want to feel asthough you understand them and have a genuine interest in their wellbeing. They want to believe that you will make time to listen to their issues and worries and help them through them. The only way you can truly do this is by knowing your employees, I mean really knowing them. Yes this will add hours to your day and you may not see the results immediately but you will lose less staff over the long run and in this day and age that is something priceless.

Just remember, if you do lose a superstar to, dare I say, your competition it is likely that it could have been avoided. Make the time to talk with your employees about what makes them tick and try your level best to stop them from looking elsewhere. To ruin an actual saying “sometimes the grass is greener on the other side”.

 

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