Retaining Top Performers. How not to be blindsided when they leave? #60 Mentorship Lessons

The perfect employee!

They are constant Top Performers.

They always meet and exceed quotas.

They take ownership of their role.

They are respected by their coworkers and customers.

They don’t need a lot of attention. Oh but wait, do they?

Over the years I have interviewed many top performers from other companies. A constant message I hear all too often on why they are looking to leave their current position-that their managers don’t pay a lot of attention to developing and retaining them – because, after all, their work is going smoothly and isn’t demanding immediate attention.

So I came to a conclusion just recently. Even though Top Performers don’t require constant managing we do have job to complete with Top Performers. Retaining them! – How do you keep from being blindsided by the rock star who announces that she’s accepted another offer?

First let’s explore the two biggest reasons (besides compensation) why Top Performers leave.

  1. Lack of feedback.-

A lot of the people I have interviewed stated that a weak point of previous bosses is feedback. At least 50% expected feedback at least once per month. They were looking for an actual one on ones. What was the reality? Most concrete feedback came during annual or semi reviews. The result feeling under appreciated. Too little feedback too late.

  1. Growth Development-

High performers are high performers for a reason. They perform because they want to improve. People I have interviewed have shared that another weak point of their boss is that they didn’t work with the employee on a growth plan (much less did they ever ask what the employee wanted) and once they were shared a growth plan there was inconsistent follow through.

So what can you do retain Top Performers?

  1. Give them one on one attention besides annual reviews. Find out what they want to accomplish and contribute to the organization. Make the conversation about THEM.
  2. Spend time with them-Like any relationship it needs be nurtured. We have a rule on my team. If you need one on one time don’t hesitate to ask.
  3. Top performers get assigned extra tasks it seems a lot. When you do assign them a task don’t just assign the task because you know they will do it. Assign a task because it aligns with their goals and share with them what they will learn from doing the task.
  4. Make sure they know they are appreciated. Too often, high performers leave because they don’t feel recognized or valued, so make sure she/he knows how much you appreciate her contributions and talk explicitly with her about the impact her work has had on your team or organization. This means more than the regular “great job”; it means being specific about why it was a great job,

When looking back at when I was blindsided when a Top Perfomer has left me    ( Yes, I have been blindsided) 8/10 it wasn’t because of compensation it was because of the reasons listed above. By being thoughtful and strategic about the relationship with your Top Performers, you can often keep them fulfilled, retain them longer and contributing at a high level for much longer.

One of the jobs of a manager is to instill confidence, pump confidence into your people. And when you’ve got somebody who’s raring to go and you can smell it and feel it, give ’em that shot.

Jack Welch

Equip, Educate, Empower, and Encourage others to become better leaders!-Tony Jalan

Tony Jalan

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About Tony Jalan

Tony currently oversees a multi million dollar producing sales division for Heartland Payment Systems, a Fortune 1000 company. With over 18 years of sales and leadership experience he has employed the many lessons he has learned from his mentors to transform under-performing sales teams into top performing sales teams. The foundation principles he leads by is Attitude, Accountability and Activity. People who feel good about themselves produce great results. People before numbers.

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