“Where” are you trying to keep talented employees?

Think about your investments in talented employees. Are you one of those companies that invest in their existing talented employees? Or is your entire focus on the talented employees you have not yet started working with? So are you ready for the new challenge? Where are you trying to keep talented employees: in your teams or in the company?

According to Gartner, the average employee turnover rate in the coming years will be 50 to 75 per cent higher than in the past. It will also take 18 per cent longer to fill vacancies than in the past. Executives will spend their already scarce time looking for talent. In an increasingly expensive and competitive marketplace, it’s clear that the real challenge is to accelerate retention efforts. Unless employee retention efforts increase, it will not be possible to improve performance and keep pace with change.


Focusing on human potential

Managers are advised to look at retention from a different perspective. Until now, the primary problem for managers has been how to keep talented employees on their teams. Now managers need to focus on the question: How can we keep this person in the organisation? (yes, the question starts with “we”, not “I”, which implies the creation of an environment of absolute cooperation)

The most important reason for this change is the increasing tendency of people to go beyond their own borders and acquire new skills, and the fact that 20 per cent of talented employees are looking for a new job, even if they are satisfied with their current job. What’s more, 68 per cent of white-collar employees are willing to be trained from scratch to transition to a new role (BCG Creating People Advantage).  Managers can support the careers of their talented employees only if they recognise people’s desire to go beyond their current limits and create development opportunities in this direction. Managers should be able to recognise the desire for change and development of talented people in their teams and move them to a different point in the organisation.  This is where the question of how to keep this person in the organization and not in the team becomes important.  In order for them to do this, it is necessary to make radical changes in their success criteria.  Currently, managers’ performance is measured by retaining talented people on their teams. A talented team member who is “lost” to another team is not a success, but rather a performance problem. Supporting a person who creates benefits for the company to stay in the organization should be among the new KPIs of team leaders. Unless this approach is implemented, employee retention will become more difficult.


Revamp your insight strategy

How do you plan to find out what employees envision for themselves? Do you frequently conduct career interviews? Considering the global resignation rates, career interviews are not enough.  The most important reasons for this are usually seen as rushing career interviews, low beliefs of both parties about the usefulness of these interviews, and the fact that the interviews do not carry the importance they deserve.   The ideal career interview, however, should allow the employee to imagine where their career will take them. And it doesn’t have to be just by staying within the team.

If your employees envisage a completely different career for themselves and cannot put it forward, it is almost certain that the next interview will be the exit interview.  The ideal career interview should also provide an opportunity to discuss where the employee can utilise their strengths. You should be supportive of the fact that a person who is very good for your team is dreaming of a different role within the company.  Especially in teams with a high number of employees, the ideal career interview is only possible once or twice a year. In the best case, semi-annual career discussions – usually once a year – increase the likelihood that employees have already made up their minds.

This is why it is so important to regularly receive employees’ ideas, comments and suggestions on every subject and to create an environment of constant contact. It is almost impossible for a person to save their inner thoughts, dreams, frustrations or criticisms for what we assume to be an ideal interview.

For this reason, hundreds of thousands of managers all over the world – if they are lucky – are made aware of these feelings and thoughts in exit interviews or surveys.

During these interviews or surveys, talented employees usually have already planned and acted on their next steps.

Most companies that analyse why people leave do not use this insight to invest in those who stay.

Unless these interviews and statistics are turned into actionable steps to create change, your company’s chances of improving retention rates are reduced.

Team leaders need to take advantage of having fewer people working and ask themselves once again, “Where are we trying to keep talented employees?”