At every company I’ve ever worked for, I’ve seen really high performing employees come and go for various reasons. Whether they aren’t challenged enough, aren’t being paid enough, or are unhappy with the workload provided at the company – all good employees are bound to leave if you’re not good at keeping them. One of the main functions behind the human resources department is to protect the company from low retention numbers. But for high performing employees, should we focus on working harder to keep them? Absolutely.
The best way to prevent your high performing employees from leaving is to understand the top three reasons why they might want to leave. Then, you can put the best practices into place for preventing this, so you won’t be surprised one day with a letter of resignation. It’s a war for top talent these days, especially in the technology sector, and having a strong retention strategy is the only way you’re going to be able to win it.
Top 3 Reasons for Low Retention for Highly Performing Employees
The most basic issue – and probably the easiest to solve if cash flow is good – is their pay. Numerous research studies have indicated that pay is one of the top three reasons that employees leave a company, and this is even more true for those who perform at a higher level. How to fix the issue? When determining the pay scale for an employee, you can’t just look at the average pay for the job, you need to look at the rate for higher-performing employees. Using a salary calculator at one of the big job websites to determine a starting point will help. Then, take a look at what other companies are paying for similar positions, and determine the level of competitiveness you’re willing to go for. If you aren’t as competitive, then talented employees – especially developers – will leave for a bigger paycheck.
The second reason these high performing employees leave is that they’re not being challenged enough. Most high performing employees have a mentality that they always want to push themselves to be better, and they don’t want to waste their time with mundane, non-challenging tasks. How to fix the issue? Give these employees new tasks that challenge them to push their limits. Have them train in different areas of the business, so they can grow their understanding of the company as a whole in preparation for higher-level positions. Find a challenging issue that needs tackling, or create a program that allows employees to find holes in current practices, and gives them the freedom and responsibility to fix them. It’s important to balance the mundane and necessary tasks with tasks that challenge these individuals. This will not only keep them on board, but it will also increase productivity in the workplace.
The third most common reason that high performing employee leave is dysfunctional company culture. Most employees go to work, clock-in, and clock-out, with no issues; but high performing employees work differently. They want to feel that they’re making a difference in the company as a whole. If there’s no transparency and the employees aren’t engaged, so they can’t see any real way that their contributions, it’s going to be difficult to retain these employees. How to fix the issue? Create a task force or different committees that allow employees to be a part of the process of creating a better company culture. If that’s too much for your organization to take on, take smaller steps to improve morale like providing more flexible work schedules, catered lunches, or more generous vacation policies. Show them that you care and that you’re looking to enhance your company culture if you want to keep your top talent on staff.
What has your experience been in keeping top talent engaged at your company?
Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, is an author, speaker, Human Resources professional, and workplace social media expert who has a passion for recruiting, training, and all things social media. She is the president and CEO of Xceptional HR, and a leader in the HR community with more than 12 years of industry experience.
The author of Tweet This! Twitter for Business, Jessica was named by HR Examiner as the second most influential recruiter on the Internet and the seventh most powerful woman on Twitter.
She is a columnist for both SmartBrief and The Huffington Post, in addition to Blogging4Jobs and Human Resources One on One. Jessica has been interviewed for professional articles in CIO Magazine, Entrepreneur Magazine, SHRM’s HR Magazine, and on CBS.
Jessica earned a Senior Professional in Human Resources designation in 2008, and holds a bachelor’s degree in Anthropology and Business from Kansas State University. Originally from a small town in Kansas, Jessica currently lives near Oklahoma City with her husband, Greg and daughter, Ryleigh.