Can You Prevent Your Best People From Leaving?

Your talent is heading for the exit sign - retain them now

Are you at risk from your best people heading for the exit?

I was reading a blog from the Forbes website, and the article struck me that maybe it was time to raise this “elephant in the room” issue that no one wants to address.

I screamed “WOLF” about this issue a couple of times before – but let’s have at it again. Here’s what Edward Lawler said in his Forbes article (maybe you will not believe it when Barry Deutsch speaks – but perhaps an article on Forbes gives the concept some validity):

 

The economy is getting stronger, and as a result, more and more individuals are looking for better jobs. A recent survey by Lloyds found that executives believe a talent shortage is the number two risk facing business today, up from twenty-second place in 2009.

 

Put Retention PROGRAMS in place right now!

Are you putting specific retention programs in place right now. With the economy heating up, everyone acknowledging a talent shortage, and employee satisfaction hovering at depression-era levels, is anyone concerned that the lid may blow and lots of your best people starting leaving like dominos falling?

Once the brain drain begins, many of the folks who “aligned” themselves with your best talent, starting heading to the door with equal speed.

You can prevent your best people from leaving!

However, wishing and crossing your fingers doesn’t work. Nor does leaving it up to each individual manager.

Here are some proactive steps you can start taking today:

  • Identify your high potential/high impact employees
  • Ensure they have stimulating work
  • Sit down with each one and map out a learning and development plan for the next year
  • Assign an executive to be their mentor
  • Come up with a list of projects that will intellectually challenge them
  • Find places in your organization to leverage their best talents and skills
  • Are there non-monetary rewards and recognition you can give this group of “A” performers when they exceed your expectations?

 

Take Care of Your Best Talent

Not taking care of your “A” talent will result in the “A” talent leaving. I know it’s “unfair” to single out this group and give them specific notice, projects, and nurturing. Unfortunately, in most companies, the biggest successes, results, and outcomes follow the Pareto Principle. 20% of your workforce (typically your most talented) generate 80% of the significant change, improvement, and growth in your business. No surprises in that statement.

Are you ready to shift from a mental framework of abundance (typical in poor job market) of “these people should be lucky to have a job” to a framework of scarcity (typical in a good market). It’s been so long since we’ve had a good job market – it’s hard to remember what a struggle it can be to keep and recruit talent.

What’s your plan to keep your very best people engaged and “recruiter-proof” your company?

Read more about the techniques of recruiting and retaining top talent, especially what motivates great performers, in our award-winning and best-selling book, You’re NOT the Person I Hired. The book is available as a FREE digital download on our website.

To read the full article on Forbes, click the link below:

Preventing the Loss of Key Talent

Barry Deutsch

Not All Reference Checks Say Good Things – 54% Have Received Bad References

I was recently facilitating our, You’re NOT The Person I Hired, workshop with CEOs and key executives. As is often the case, the subject of reference checking came up. Most in the audience tended to agree that checking references is a waste of time. After all, candidates only give references they are sure will say positive things about them. Don’t you agree?

Then a CFO sitting in the back raised his hand to disagree. He told the story of a controller he was about to hire near the border in Texas. This was a difficult position to fill as there were a lot of specific requirements. Finally, after an arduous search he found his person. She had all of the qualifications and most importantly he really like her. The final step was to conduct a few reference checks. She handed him a list of 30 references. WOW he thought, this person really has a lot of people willing to vouch for her.  Then he picked 5 of them and started calling. The first call was to a former boss. He introduced himself and explained that he was calling to conduct a reference check on Mary. The line went silent. The pause was so long that he thought they were disconnected and asked if the reference was still on the line. The reference replied yes and then stated, “Mary gave me as reference? I can’t believe it. We fired her because she stole from us. She did pay us back but she stole from us.” Now there was silence from him. He didn’t know what to say or how to respond.

This is just one of many examples of what can happen on a reference check and why you should always perform your due diligence. Granted, this may only happen once in your career, but in this case the once may have saved the company thousands if she has stolen again.

I have conducted thousands of reference checks in my 30 year career as an executive recruiter. I have learned that more often than not someone will give me a reference they expect to be positive and it turns negative. It is for this reason that I always check references. Like the CFO in this example, it has saved me from making some big mistakes. It only takes one bad reference to realize that catching that one person was worth all the others.

If you have stories or experiences regarding strange things that have happened when you have conducted a reference check I would love to hear about them and share them with others. Please take a moment to tell others your story.

I conducted a poll on LinkedIn in which 54% replied that they have had people give them a negative reference. This goes to show that even though the person giving the reference expects a positive reference they often don't get one

Join the other 10,000 CEOs, key executives and HR professionals and download a FREE copy of our best-selling book, You’re NOT The Person I Hired. Just CLICK HERE  and under the FREE Hiring Resources section you can download our free eBook.

Retaining your best talent is always the best thing any company can do. Download our FREE Non-Monetary Rewards and Recognitions Matrix. It will help you retain your best people without additional compensation. CLICK HERE to download under the Free Resources section.

I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Brad

 

How Important Is Hiring and Retaining Great People?

Is Hiring and Retaining Top Talent Important To Your Organization?

On a recent Harvard Business Review Blog Article, titled Good Managers Lead Through a Team, Linda Hill & Kent Lineback spoke about how the ability to manage teams is one of the key pillars of success for managers and executives. This an excellent and well-written article that all managers and executives should read.

I commented on the article since I felt the authors missed the key point about people and teams. It’s not as much the ability to manage them – as it is the issue of hiring and retaining them.

Here were my comments to the authors. What are your thoughts?

 

Excellent post about a key pillar of successful managers and leaders. I'll go one step further. In our executive search practice, we've completed well over 1,000 projects and interviewed over 250,000 managerial and executive candidates over the last 25 years. We've identified that the NUMBER ONE element of success for managers and executives is hiring and retaining a top-notch team.

Even hiring managers and executives with technical weaknesses in their functional niche or specialty out-performed their more technically adept peers due to their stronger teams. It affects career progression, job opportunities, bonus and incentives, and job satisfaction.

Managers and Executives who hired middle-of-the-road minimally qualified candidates, and accepted mediocrity among their team members, had average and mediocre careers – passed over for promotions, denied new opportunities, and failed to earn their full bonus potential.

No other trait or ability appears to come close to the correlation of success for managers and executives and their ability to hire and retain top talent.

Unfortunately, most companies give the concept of hiring top talent and “our people are our most important asset” lip service. Rewards, incentives, goals, objectives, and consequences don't match the propaganda most companies spew out about their people and teams. You can find isolated cases of companies that make hiring and retaining a top priority – but the list is very small. More likely, you'll find a few managers and executives scattered through-out different companies who instinctively “GET IT.”

Why do you think there is such a gap between the generic words about the importance of people and team members vs. the practical application on a day-to-day basis?

 

Share your experience of what happens when managers and executives do a great job of hiring and retaining top talent vs. what happens when weak, average, and mediocre people are hired and “tolerated.”

If you would like to read the full article, click the link below:

Good Managers Lead Through A Team

Barry Deutsch

 

PS: Download a copy of our best-selling book “You’re NOT the Person I Hired” and take our Hiring Process Assessment to determine if your organization is capable of hiring top talent.

Which of Your Employees Have a Miserable Job?

The Three Signs of a Miserable Job by Patrick Lencioni

One of my favorite books, is Three Signs of a Miserable Job, by Patrick Lencioni.

Have you read this book yet? Every CEO should make it required reading for their management team.

Here’s an excellent YouTube Video with Lencioni talking about the book:

Here’s my homework assignment for you: Take an excel spreadsheet, list every employee in your company, and categorize them into one of the three main categories for a miserable job that Lencioni refers to in his book.

  • Anonymity: People need to be understood and appreciated by someone in a position of authority
  • Irrelevance: Everyone needs to know their job matters to someone
  • Immeasurement: Employees need to be able to gauge their progress and level of contribution for themselves

That’s the easy part, the next part is then put action plans together to overcome these miserable elements of jobs in your company. Are you to this challenge?

You might say to me:

‘I don’t have a need to go through this with my employees. Our productivity, efficiency, and effectiveness is good enough. We don’t have to go through this time-consuming, painful process, to figure out what’s wrong with our jobs. If any of our employees don’t like their jobs, their welcome not to let the door hit them on the way out.

 

Should Employees Be Engaged and Satisfied?

I’m curious how many CEOs really believe that statement. Oh, no one raised their hands. Here’s the irony: The vast majority of CEOs don’t perceive a problem. Then why are the vast majority of your employees turned off, dissatisfied, disengaged, and are ready to look for a new job? Almost every study over the last few years indicates employee satisfaction has dropped to historical lows compared to the Great Depression.

What’s the risk of having employees feel like their job is miserable? What’s the risk of having disengaged, unhappy, dissatisfied, unmotivated employees?

The risk is a tolerance for “it’s not my job”, errors, customer dissatisfaction, turnover, poor performance and execution, below industry average levels of productivity, and a dysfunctional culture that permeates every element of your business. Wow – I depressed myself just making that list.

 

Create An Engaged Workforce of Happy Employees

When should you start to care about how your employees feel about their jobs? Should it be when you want to grow your business by $250,000 next year, or $22 million over the next 3 years?

If your approach to business is “it’s good enough”, then take no action.

If your approach to business is along the thoughts of Jim Collins in Good to Great, I challenge you that this could be one of the greatest areas for operational performance in your business over the next few years.

What are your thoughts? What’s your experience in implementing actions to overcome the 3 primary elements of a miserable job?

Barry Deutsch

PS – Take our FREE Culture Survey to get a quick grasp on how your employees might perceive your company and whether there is a risk of them being miserable. Click here to download the Culture Survey. This was one of the key chapters in our award-winning and best-selling book, titled “You're NOT the Person I Hired.”

If you would like to discover how to hire and retain top talent, we've made You're NOT the Person I Hired, available for FREE in an electronic version. To download your free copy of the book You're NOT the Person I Hired, click this link, or click the button below:

Download our FREE e-book - You're NOT the Person I Hired

 

Your Reputation Can Impact Hiring Top Talent

We were retained to conduct a search for a VP of Marketing. The position had been open for more than six months, during which time the company had interviewed ten people who showed little interest in the position or the company. In fact, one offer had been turned down. At first glance this seemed strange, since it was a good company offering reasonable compensation.

Shortly after contacting prospective candidates working for competitors and in related industries, the mystery became clear. The company had a reputation for high turnover, lack of innovative products, poor leadership and low pay. One candidate stated, “It's known as a “burn 'em and churn 'em company.” Another candidate stated, “I'm interested in hearing about the position as long as it isn't X company” of course it was X company. All of these issues had been true three years back, but new management had since come on and started changing things. The reputation, unfortunately, lagged behind.

In conjunction with the company we put together a marketing plan beginning with changing the Web site. We encouraged the company to address the baggage of the past while emphasizing the changes that had been made The redesigned site also included testimonials from happy employees, information about the improved company benefits and management's new commitment to employees. Another section discussed the company's new products and how they were performing in the marketplace, as well as the company's dedication to R&D. Finally, we changed how potential candidates were treated when they came in for interviews. All interviews were now viewed as a PR event.

As a result, even if a candidate didn't end up getting the job, they still walked away with a completely different image of the company. Most walked away now wanting the job.

We ultimately filled the search with a candidate who originally told us she didn't even want to interview. In fact, she told us the same thing three times before finally agreeing to an interview. She came away overwhelmed by the change and impressed with the new management. She was eager to go to work for the reborn organization.

Understanding your company’s reputation is an important issue when conducting a search. Regardless of your reputation, developing a compelling marketing plan is key to a successful search. Ensuring your company’s image is well received by candidates will help you attract more top candidates and reduce the cost per hire.

Start with your Web site, as this is the first place all candidates go once hearing the name of the company.

Remember all interviews are a PR event.

Join the other 10,000 CEOs, key executives and HR professionals and download a FREE copy of our best-selling book, “You’re NOT The Person I Hired.”  Just CLICK HERE  and under the FREE Hiring Resources section you can download our free eBook.

Retaining your best talent is always the best thing any company can do. Download our FREE  Non-Monetary Rewards and Recognitions Matrix. It will help you retain your best people without additional compensation. CLICK HERE to download under the Free Resources section.

If this was helpful please pass it along to others. I welcome your thoughts and comments.

Brad Remillard