While I won’t go so far to say there will be a war on talent anywhere in the near future, I’m quite certain there could easily be a significant exodus by workers. Many of these career gypsies could very well be the star players who are simply jaded from all the organizational triage that has demanded heroic acts of greatness just to stay employed. How will your organization fair if a marked percentage of your top talent were to walk out the front door in the next 6-9 months?

Businesses have taken a beating over the past couple of years and, if we are completely honest with ourselves, so have employees. There is the constant threat of ongoing cost cutting measures as businesses respond to not so exciting business conditions. It makes for a tense work environment. It also makes a future at your company not seem so bright.

In a recent study, Blessing White found that an amazing 19% of disgruntled high performers are highly motivated to leave their current job within the next 12 months. In addition to the high performers, about 13% of people have no intentions of staying with their current employer for 12 more months.

Here are some suggestions made by the study to help employees envision a future with your company and not your competitor.

  • Clarify the word ‘career’ – Everyone has their own perception of this term, but you can redefine what it can mean in your organization. Offer development and training in areas that help them find meaning in their work. No need to do a role change, just have a conversation to find out what would make their work have more meaning for them.
  • Find out what employees want – It’s a given your organization may not know what employees want, but the employee may not know what they want either. They just want something different than what they have now. Ask them questions. Help them to discover what they want. Help them gain greater clarity on their personal values and goals and work together to find out how that can align with the business strategy of the organization.
  • Know what  will make you successful – When you have a clear road to success, you can easily point out where the work needs to be done. In the conversations with your employees about what they want, you can include this direction for the company in that conversation. Ask for their suggestions on how they can utilize their unique talents to do this necessary work for fulfilling the business strategy of the organization. Employees who are aware of business priorities and strategies are more likely to contribute to the solution.
  • Relationships and conversations over data – Have your online and printed information support the conversations you are having with your employees. In other words let the data not be the main thing. It’s that personal interaction that will keep things moving in the right direction with your talent retention efforts.
  • Don’t ignore your managers – Managers won’t be driving career development initiatives, but they can certainly throw a wrench in the works if they aren’t included in the process and informed. They can become quite skeptical and fearful that they will “lose staff” with this new initiative for career development. Manage the expectations of what should and shouldn’t do.
  • William,

    This is very sage advice indeed. The impact to overall customer experience of any large scale exodus of workers can be quite significant, and not merely from front-line customer facing associates. Businesses often underestimate the impact that employee churn has, not only on internal functionality, but also on customer experience throughout the organization. Soft costs can be staggering.

    Great post!

    Bill Leinweber
    Landmark Experience LLC

  • You bet Bill. The potential impact on customer experience/retention is equally dismal should a company experience employee turnover in the double digits. Thanks for your insightful contribution!

    Cheers,
    William