Heads up; your top performer is looking for another job.
Does that thought scare you? It should. Depending on what survey you read, it’s estimated that between 30 – 85% of employees are ready to jump ship. Despite sluggish job growth, in the US last year more people voluntarily quit their jobs than were laid off. On the other hand, only 14% of employers fear losing key players. There’s obviously some disconnect.
People are worn out from the recession and its lingering effects on their families. If someone feels stagnant and trapped, changing jobs can feel like a way to take control. Top performers aren’t complainers, though, and they often won’t tell you they’re unhappy till they’re out the door.
How do you know if your top people are eyeing new opportunities? Here’s a hint; if you’ve caught yourself saying “they should just be grateful to have jobs”, your company is at risk.
The positive side to this is that companies with great cultures can cherry-pick the best employees. What can you do to attract the best, and make sure they stick around? Here are four areas to consider.
Show your employees you care about them as people. Build camaraderie. Take them to lunch, or bring lunch in. Create opportunities for teams to get to know each other. Show sincere care and concern. Express your appreciation for their good work. For example, award-winning healthcare organization CHW Arizona teams hold “huddles” on a regular basis to discuss concerns.
Create opportunities for employees to learn and develop. If training isn’t in the budget, arrange for mentoring, peer training or cross-training. Give them feedback and coaching. Give them what they need to feel accomplished.
Provide flexibility and freedom. Hire the best people, and trust them to make decisions. Top performers need to have a sense of ownership.
Flexibility in scheduling is fast becoming an expectation. It doesn’t cost the company, but is worth a lot to employees. Insisting on “face time” in the name of productivity is likely to cause a loss of productivity down the road – and from what we’re observing, “down the road” is right now.
Have fun. You can take your work seriously without taking yourself too seriously. People are more productive and engaged when they’re having fun.
Are you seeing turnover in your company, and what are you doing to retain your best people?