If LaBron James decided to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers for another team, the performance of that franchise would drop like a rock. This is the case for any business, no matter what business you're in. Studies have shown that losing any of the top 10% of your performers has 5-10 times more impact on your business than losing your average performers. With that in mind, here are 10 strategies for keeping your best people:
(1) Go to your best people right now and do a pre-exit interview. Don't wait for them to get a call from a headhunter or to come to you saying that "I've decided to resign." Be proactive and ask them in a one on one: "What are the factors that will cause you to stay?" Ask them to warn you if they become unhappy.
(2) Verbally ask them to rate their current job on a 1-10 scale on the factors below. And then ask them what corrective steps could be taken to raise any problem scores to a 10: (a) My job provides honest, frequent two way communication (b) My job provides challenging exciting work (c) My job provides opportunities to grow and learn (d) In my job, I know my work makes a difference (e) In my job, I'm recognized and rewarded for my performance (f ) I have some degree of control over my job
(3) Ask them to describe their ideal job or where they would like to be in 1-2 years. Then work with them to develop a plan to get them there.
(4) Tie pay to staying with the company and their performance results. Money is never the only reason that people leave. Generally leadership screws up something first...then money begins to get their attention. Fix the job first or address their career concerns and then if you give them more money tie it to their results so that they don't end up staying..."well paid but dissatisfied and uncommitted!"
(5) Develop programs that bond them to affinity groups. One of the hardest things to leave in a job is their close friends. By developing affinity groups (sports, professional groups, play, ethnic, gay and other shared interests) you help build bonds beyond the job that are difficult to break.
(6) Sponsor programs for their spouses, friends and children. Puts more people on the team -- besides the Company -- working towards getting them to stay with the organization. . (7) Develop a list of "motivators" for each employee you want to retain. Non-monetary motivators are powerful but most managers are not aware of what motivates an employee. Develop a list (through trial and error as well as asking them and friends) and use it to keep them satisfied.
(8) Reward managers and teams for retention. What gets measured gets done. Managers seldom have time to do things that are not measured. So reward managers and business teams for keeping high performers and key talent.
(9) Use "pulse surveys. Do periodic e-mail surveys of a sample of employees to get a "pulse" of the organization. This helps to identify new issues and trouble spots.
(10) Get rid of bad managers. Remember, that most top performers don't want to work for bad managers who are insecure, not challenging or developing them. If you have managers who are not good at developing, inspiring or supporting top talent...get rid of them or at a minimum move them to a new assignment where they don't have to develop people.