The Society for Human Resource Management indicates that it costs 6-9 months’ salary, on average, to hire and train a new employee. When you factor in the loss of tribal knowledge when your best employees leave the amount is immeasurable.
Your best employees want to be satisfied and fulfilled in their careers and because they are among the best and they know they have options. Today more than ever top talent attaches self-identity to their job. Top talent demands certain things in a workplace. If you want your top talent to quit do the following things well.
Fail to help with career mapping or development – top talent wants to contribute and often in bigger ways than can be done in their current role. They are high achievers and whilst achievement comes in many forms career progression is often top on that list. If advancement isn’t available, they will no doubt go searching for it elsewhere.
Overwork them – Your best employees are likely to be willing to take on extra work and don’t just work within the hours of 9-5, because they like to be relied upon and given new opportunities to learn and grow. However, they will expect some flexibility from you for them to have some form of work-life balance. If you can’t offer flexibility in the form of working from home, being able to schedule appointments during work hours and of course time off when needed they will pull back or seek other opportunities that will give them the flexibility they need.
Ignore their success – Poor work and great work need to be treated differently. With poor performers you coach and train and strong performers you give recognition. When you fail to recognize their efforts and contributions they will start to wonder why they try so hard when others don’t carry their weight.
No or low follow-through – Top talent isn’t shy about what they need or want to feel fulfilled and grow within the organization. When you say you will do something they expect you to follow through with it or at least maintain communication while you work on getting it done. Not following through has been a high contributor to why top talent quits.
Don’t challenge them – Top talent gets bored quickly and if they aren’t being engaged with challenging and interesting work they will look elsewhere.
Create a toxic environment – More time is spent at work than anywhere else. If they find most of their time being spent in a place that leaves them feeling defeated, drained or demoralized they will do something about it and quickly because they know they have options.
Trust is missing from the boss/employee relationship – Top talent has little patience for a boss they can’t trust. Micromanagement, not delegating work or blaming the team for failures that are clearly the leaders fault will kill the trust that is so important to top employees. Top talent is immersed in their work but if they feel they aren’t trusted they will move on because they can.
Fail to communicate – Because top talent wants to achieve career success they want to know what is happening within the organization so they can plan, prepare and adjust as necessary to meet their career goals. Failing to communicate forces them into ignorance and because they are top talent and therefore smart they won’t put up with a lack of communication for long.
Surely you don’t want to force your top talent out of the organization and it isn’t that hard to keep them. It is easy for leaders to fall short in some of the areas above from time to time so keep them top of mind frequently to deliver a satisfying and fulfilling experience to your top talent. If you don’t you may just suffer from a side effect of losing top talent, losing your own job.