When you have great people working for you, you want to keep them… But how do you make sure they STAY at your company, rather than be seduced by opportunities elsewhere? Here are a couple of questions we find helpful for retaining top talent.
Think about it.
Can you think of ONE person who:
- loves their job
- is making stellar progress
- considers their current job to be completely in line with their career aspirations
- feels totally respected and recognized
- has great relationships at work
- can combine it all with their private life
and who says ‘I want another job…’?
Chances are low you know anybody like that. If people consider their current work environment to be incredible, chances are low they will go for other (more uncertain) opportunities.
That’s why it’s important to regularly ask the following questions regarding your top talent:
- Do they love the things they are currently working on?
Each job has its highs and its lows. That’s absolutely normal. And star performers understand that they sometimes have to ‘give’ to their company (for example by taking on an assignment that was not their top choice). Just make sure such ‘down periods’ don’t last too long, and that they are followed by really exciting missions.
- Are they performing well, and making significant progress?
Even in the most exciting of jobs, there might be times when results stay out, even for star performers. When this lasts for quite some time, and every day brings its new difficulties, a little voice inside might wonder ‘Do I really like this job?’ – especially if they feel ‘alone’ in their misery. Therefore, when a star performer goes through some difficult times – make sure to remain demanding – but show you are on their side and provide the necessary support.
- Do they consider the current job content to be in line with their career aspirations?
Some star performers want to stay in their current job; others are eager to be on the fast track to the next levels of the organization. Whatever their career aspirations, when star performers know you understand their point of view, and they know you want to help them realize their ambitions, they feel connected to you. As a result, it’s critical to have honest and forward-looking career discussions with your best people (especially if you cannot immediately offer them what they were hoping for).
- Has sufficiently been done to make them feel respected and recognized?
Many star performers get a boost when they receive appreciation for their work. And so many leave their jobs because they feel unrecognized, disrespected or not being listened to. This doesn’t mean that, as a boss, you should overcompliment them, or always agree with them. Just let them know you notice all they’re putting in, and, especially when you had to take some tough decisions, take the time to show you appreciate them and their work.
- How good is the team spirit at work?
Relationships at work are a very important component of retaining talent. Star performers who feel isolated, ‘different from all the rest’, tend to remain feel quite disconnected from work. When they feel part of a team, when there is true ‘teamness’, it will be so much more difficult for them to leave their current work environment. That’s why, as a boss, it’s so important to nurture a good team spirit.
- Are there any signs of frustration with the workload?
For many star performers, the number of hours worked doesn’t really matter … for some time. But if pressure and ‘over-work’ continue over time, frustration tends to build up (if not for them, for their family members). So, listen for signs of frustration with the workload – show you care – and investigate together what to do about it.
Regularly ask these 6 questions for your top talent, and you give yourself the best chances for retaining these top people.