Are Your Top Performers Leaving?  Or at Risk of Leaving?
First of all, every people leader should know the answer to both questions at all times.  If your top performers are taking a walk, or contemplating a move, there are concrete steps you can take as their manager to better engage and retain them before it is too late. The best managers retain top performers.

3 Ways Managers Retain Top Performers
Our employee engagement survey data from over 500,000 employees per year over the last five years tells us that managers should focus on three areas to better engage and retain their top talent:

  1. Career Growth and Development Opportunities
    The number one reason high performers cited for leaving their job was their perception that they needed to go elsewhere to find better growth and development opportunities. If you want to engage and retain your top talent as a manager, make sure that you provide relevant and meaningful training, mentoring, coaching, and challenging job assignments.

  2. Company Leadership
    The second reason high performers reported looking for greener pastures was related to “bad” company leadership. In fact, bad leadership was twice as often the reason for employee turnover as management or pay.  If you want to engage and retain your top talent as a manager, do what you can to buffer your teams from bad leaders and ineffective leadership practices.

  3. Managers and Management Practices
    While managers can certainly impact an employee’s perspective of both company leadership and career development opportunities, the aspect most under their control is their own leadership and management style. Managers have an enormous influence on employee engagement and retention. If managers develop effective teams and help people develop their careers in ways that are meaningful to them, employees will likely stay where they are.

    Being a good manager is neither simple nor easy. It takes hard work and a clear assessment of how your performance as a manager affects employee engagement, retention, and turnover. Good managers recognize that employees want to be treated fairly, have meaningful work, and feel as if their contributions are appreciated.

    But good managers don’t just assume their employees’ needs are being satisfied. Good managers consistently ask for feedback, consider it thoughtfully, and take the necessary action steps to increase engagement.

A Word of Caution
The surveys will signal to your employees that you are curious about their thoughts and engagement level. That’s good. But you can’t stop there. It is critical that you take action to improve either your managing style or their job fit. You may want to invest in a self-development tool to assess your own strengths and weaknesses as well as the interests and talents of your employees. Just be prepared to make meaningful adjustments as the feedback suggests.

Retaining Top Talent
Some teams cannot function properly if they lose one or two key employees. A manager’s job is to ensure that these employees, especially, are positively engaged in their work and the team’s purpose. Investigate all the tools that are available to you and determine which would be best suited to your situation and to your individual employee. Then communicate frequently to be sure you and the employee are moving in the right direction.

The Bottom Line
If manager effectiveness is the “transmission” of an organization, effective managers can influence employees to be more engaged, to be more productive, and to stay with you for the long term. Find out the needs, do the work, and hold yourself accountable for the results.

To learn more about ways managers retain top performers, download 5 Succession Planning Traps to Avoid When You Want to Retain High Potential Employees


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